Thursday, December 31, 2009


i had real trouble with this challenge - when i thought 'mandala' i could only think of brightly coloured symmetrical designs which, while beautiful, just didn't inspire me at all. i couldn't get an angle on this theme so finally i gave up and just started playing on the sewing machine and thinking of patterns and symbols that have meaning for me. i used a piece of green velveteen (recycled from an old skirt of my mother in law's) that i had dyed with ink and fabric paint, layered with felted wool jumper and cotton backing and just started machining spirals - always a potent symbol for me.

i was inspired by arlee to machine tight spirals in different colours which made the circles bunch up - a few more of these and i realised i was making the pleiades constellation- the subject of my connections quilt earlier in the year. this is a powerful symbolic story in many cultures and one that is insistent in my mind at the moment.

i used rayon threads in bright colours for the central star, purple, turquoise and blue for the other major stars and black for the more reticent smaller stars. i then puddle quilted in black rayon for the background and then used silver thread to hand stitch around all the stars. the first circle of hand stitching around the central star is done in copper thread and then the radiating circles are in silver thread.
it may be unorthodox, to me it conveys as much mystery and meaning as a conventional mandala.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


to take our minds off the sadness i took young w on an excursion into Town today - when i was a child this was a Big Deal and involved wearing gloves and my red start rite shoes, holding hands and being good on the tram and was all very noisy and tall and exciting.

even for a 21st century 5 year old a trip into Town is an event: and we took a packed lunch and fruit to keep the blood sugar up without having to resort to golden archery. as it was 37 degrees i did relent and buy w a slurpee to cool his gizzard and we sat in the shade, ate lunch and watched the variety of people swirl around us.i used a couple of myer gift cards to restock my favourite perfume, then we wandered through some of melbourne's victorian arcades and peered through the plate glass of chocolate shops, toy shops and sweet shops. after an unsuccessful search for a swirly straw we hopped back on the tram and came home. and, from my observatory on the tram, i counted 14 obese people between gertrude street and johnston street - that's 3 tram stops of distance.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

heavy hearted

much much worse than the continuing illness here - we have had 2 deaths in our extended family - my aunt who was 86 and my sister's best friend's unborn baby who was killed in a car crash 6 weeks before she was due to enter the world and even to write that wrings my heart.

you will understand if the blog is quiet

Monday, December 28, 2009

destashing begins

ok folks - i am not going into 2010 carrying this much fabric. i know she who dies with the most fabric wins but we just don't have enough cupboard space chez seahorse to justify the amount of fabric being squeezed into drawers and wardrobes, not to mention the tubs in the laundry and the zip up bags under the bed.

so i have gone through 2 tubs so far and have started to put stuff on ebay. so far there is this,this,thisand this single bed quilt kit by the sydney hand dyed fabric maven lisa walton. it's a gorgeous quilt and one i longed for for ages, it's also a simple pattern BUT dependent on good rotary cutting and i am just not good at it, i'm really not. so it has been sitting in the stash reproachfully for a few years now and really deserves to be made up and put on someone's bed.

it's the first lot and there will be more over the next few weeks - hopefully this link will take you there otherwise go to ebay and look for mittyhaha (it's a long story)


i started a rust dyeing vat in the laundry just before we went to alice springs back at the end of july. i checked it when we got back and some things were ready and others needed further steeping. so i left them to mature a while longer....

i remembered them yesterday and had a lovely time unwrapping parcels of fabric that had been swaddled around rusty old tools, coils of wire, cutlery and sim. after some rinsing, soaking in salty water and gentle washing and line drying (following these excellent instructions by kimberley baxter packwood), here's what resulted

this last piece is a metre of commercial fabric that i had previously dyed with indigo

Saturday, December 26, 2009

ward report

well, the best laid kiffy plans went very much agley chez seahorse. 14 year old a came down with a vile flu-type virus last sunday which i battled against valiantly until 6.30pm on wednesday when i was felled by fever and delirium :( i took to my bed and was prey to bone aches, fever bordering on the hallucinatory

so i have spent most my time since then either in bed or about to stagger back to bed. a and i rose from our respective sick beds yesterday for present opening and then went back missing out on the family cmas jollities and cmas dinner. all rather gloomful, especially as we could hear the neighbours having a fabulous time a couple of metres away.

but fa kiffy did come
presents were opened and recipients happy
and i scored a dremel tool :) i see much drilling in my future

celebratory dinner has been postponed until new year's eve, i think as victim number 3 (12 year old e) succumbed this afternoon

ps see what a wonderful breakfast 4 year old w served up to me this morning - very restorative

Thursday, December 24, 2009

happy cmas!

well folks, i am finishing 2009 in the spirit of this year - i am beset by lurgy of the sore throat, aches and fever kind :(

but the long suffering billthedog and i thank you for reading textileseahorse and wish you all a very happy christmas and new year. may 2010 be awash with love and creativity for us all


Sunday, December 20, 2009

kiffy round 1

yesterday we had my half of the extended family here for round 1 of the kiffy* celebrations. unfortunately being a Host i was preoccupied with Hostly preoccupations and didn't remember the camera until things were well underway so i'm afraid there are no photos of the splendid cheeses, dips, olives, sausage rolls and party pies that were consumed with all the enthusiasm and grace of a pack of hyenas around a zebra.....

similarly the Pav** and the fairy bread (known as furry bread in this household) were pretty well demolished by the time i got to record them for posterity.

however fa kiffy* was captured in mid present giving, doing a fabulous job, if looking a little on the slender side... as you can see fa kiffy received a little revolutionary helpwhich may account for the look of trepidation on at least one of the present recipients
although aunty was very excited about hers
round 2 will be held chez scrumpster senior and all i have to do is make mango tira mi su - expect more photos :)

* kiffy and fa kiffy are products of the extremely young w's vocabulary a few years ago
** pav is pavolva and an Australian institution, especially when covered in passionfruit. i used stephanie alexander's recipe and it worked a treat :)

Friday, December 18, 2009


well, according to w whose portraiture it is - this is an accurate, almost uncanny likeness of my good self (note the claws...) am thinking of posting this as my new facebook profile photo

Sunday, December 13, 2009

a reluctant mandala

well i think i might have my latest challenge quilt done. i have found this the most difficult challenge so far - whenever i thought 'mandala' i had trouble getting past the conventional mandala images and none of them were particularly inspiring.

i think the combination of constant low level illness, anxiety about getting on with my southern lands pieces and just the headlong rush into the end of the year meant that finding the energy for a different quilt was just too difficult.

on the other hand i did have a rush of blood to the head and thought of 6 new pieces in one morning - including a lunar series which will have to wait until southern lands is done :)
so as i was lying awake at ghastly o'clock last night/this morning i thought i would just hop in a play a bit. arlee has been making domed circles which reminded me of a quilt i started a couple of years ago and this afternoon i just sat down and started noodling away with a piece of dyed velveteen and it morphed into my mandala quilt (i think - inspiration may strike in the last week.....)
and happy day - the figs are ripening :)

Monday, December 07, 2009

running on the spot

is what the last couple of weeks have felt like.... lots of stuff going on, sick again (sore throat for the nth time this year), away last week for a conference and while i have had lots of transitory blog post ideas trail through my head i haven't had the energy to actually post.

some snapshots:
  • new cup -$2 from the oppy :)
  • family christmas knees up with the obligatory group shot (photos not bullets..)
with great food
including my mother-in-law's superlative club sandwiches
  • letting my toenails dry in my hotel room
  • buying this gorgeous wrap at the newcastle art gallery
  • watching the mesmerising water spray in the fountain outside the gallery
  • getting absolutely and comprehensively soaked at the day on the green concert (mental as anything, the proclaimers and the b52s)
  • doing a bit of fabric painting
and made the annual wiggles pilgrimage - but that's another post :)

Friday, December 04, 2009

my creative space

i spent most of this week at a conference in newcastle so my creative space was the window seat in my hotel room. i could leave my latest southern lands quilt laid out ready to work on when i had some spare time...

see more creative spaces here