Wednesday, January 27, 2010

stitching, stitching

like the tailor of gloucester i am madly stitching away on the second big southern lands quilt.
happily i have had a reprieve and now have an extra week to finish this lot so i'm taking tonight off...
thanks for the sari silk suggestion, annabel - i tried it but don't have quite the right colour. i'm trying to tone the scarletness of the piece with ochre and rust coloured thread.

Monday, January 25, 2010

in all the medusiad of cables that lurk around here i cannot find the only one that fits my camera. so i can't show you the crimson splendour of the damson jam that's bubbling away on the stove, nor can illustrate my current creative despondency...

i am trying to finish the second big piece for the southern lands exhibition. four of the eight pieces are supposed to be sent to germany in time for a march showing. i have finished the two smaller pieces and the first big one. but the second big one is unravelling my confidence.

this is what it looked like a couple of weeks ago - it was layers of painted silk, muslin and cotton, machine stitched with a hand stitched bit in the middle.
i decided it was too light and need a heavier backing to take the hand stitching i wanted to add. so i pinned some painted cotton onto the back. and started stitching with the lovely sheeny rayon thread i bought from dijanne before she moved to france.

which was fine until i realised exactly how much handstitching was required.... and now having done a shirtload of handstitching and seeing the vast plains of fabric still to be done i am having Doubts about the whole piece. it didn't help that i removed the middle panel of embroidery because i no longer liked it and it didn't work in the current incarnation of the piece thus opening up a large chunk to be reworked.

will return when i can upload some current pics.

Friday, January 15, 2010

less chaos

the theme for 2010 is less chaos so this morning i am continuing the decluttering, getting rid of the unnecessary, the outgrown, the unhelpful and sorting what's left.

am feeling much better after three nights in a row of solid sleep. enough rest will be the other priority this year: like aa milne's dormouse i will be having Nourishment, Tonics and Rest, followed by Milk and Massage of the Back and Freedom-from-worry and Drives-in-a-car
so brisking about, busy backson

Monday, January 11, 2010

enough already

you may remember i was pretty much ill for a lot of 2009 - mostly sore throat, lost voice etc culminating in christmas horribilus just a few weeks ago. then i felt better so i made
  • jam and chutney
  • a very superior lemon tart using stephanie's recipe from here
  • cmas pudding, using my grandmother's recipe
  • a pair of "sleeping glasses" for w
  • a badge for myself, designed by w
  • the rest of my challenge quilt

and a new big quilt
and i think i did a bit too much. because i went back to work last wednesday and by 3 o'clock on thursday afternoon i was feeling wiped out tired, heavy of limb and just yuck. by the time i collected w from creche and drove home i just had enough energy to fall into bed and stoke a fever, aches and pains and complete and utter exhaustion such as i have not felt since i had glandular fever when i was 16 (and that's a loooong time ago)

i still felt ghastly on saturday so went to the dr and was put on some giant horse tablets and ordered to take to my bed. so i did. i stayed in bed all weekend. i didn't cook, i didn't sew, i didn't knit, embroider or preserve. i just lay there and slept and noodled my way between the diaries, letters and biographies of virginia woolf. and wrote in my journal as the spirit moved me.

and it was good. i was sorry i missed meeting Linda at the art quilters meet-up but sometimes you just have to stay in bed and i rarely do that. and you know i'm starting to feel better right in the middle of me - i don't feel stretched and tired as i usually do, in spite of the wheather (which i wasn't going to mention but hey it was 45 degrees today and it's still 39 degrees now)

instead of raging against being ill, for once i listened to the deity/universe/ceiling cat picking me up by the scruff of the neck and saying 'just. stop'

so maybe this year i will try and cram a little less in and if i can't stop and smell the roses, maybe contemplate the washing up

Friday, January 08, 2010

a poem to be going on with...

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

return of the native(s)

hallelujah the girls have returned :) i had a phone call this morning from a woman who had come to collect her son's mail while he is on holiday and saw our missing chook notice and compared the photofit with the new occupants of the back yard and called me post haste.

i had joked to a colleague this morning that perhaps they had gone on a cruise and lo they had gone for a short break around the corner. although apparently the meals weren't up to scratch.

so, as with Mr S Clemens, reports of the demise of the Thornbury CWA sub branch were somewhat exaggerated. the girls are restored to the chook pen and the kettle is on.

thank you for your kind remarks and fears of fowl play - i am so glad they were unfounded

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

RIP Thornbury CWA

the ebb and flow of life continues chez seahorse and part of the ebb is the disappearance of the Thornbury sub-branch of the CWA aka the chooks. they haven't been seen since New Year's Day and neighbourly inquiries and letterboxing has had no result.

we have had the girls for over 2 and a half years and it feel very strange to hang out washing without their gentle bock-bocking and scratching in the background. it feels wrong to scrape plates into the bin and not the chooks' breakfast bowl and i'm putting off using the last eggs they laid before they disappeared.

Monday, January 04, 2010

today's almost FO

i set myself the holiday goal of finishing the 2 big quilts that are to go off at the end of the month for the first Southern Lands exhibition in Europe. one i still feel ambivalent about and may make a replacement but i am very happy with this one.

i started with a base of black linen, then some old blanket dyed with landscape dyes and a strip of eucalypt dyed blanket - then the usual array of synthetics, a double layer of black tulle pinned over the lot and hours and hours of quilting. i quilted for so long i felt sick!
luckily i had bought myself some quilting gloves ($5 at clegs - bargain) and found they made a huge difference. for me this was a big quilt (132x73 cm) and wearing the gloves meant i didn't have to wrestle with it to get it through the machine. as a result i am very pleased with the quilting.
so pleased that i almost decided not to burn it but it needed the texture so i hopped in with the heat gun and gave it a light toasting. i might do some handstitching on this and a little work over with the paintstik

Sunday, January 03, 2010

on with the motley

my first post for 2010* and it's a new wip - inspired by dijanne's new challenge and finding this mostly finished embroidery from last summer.i layered white cotton, red felted wool jumper, white kimono silk, the embroidery, some vintage cotton lace and a scrunched up piece of muslin, then painted silk organza and white muslin.
sewed roughly vertical lines and then slashed with the craft knife - vertical slashes looked a bit genteel so i got stuck in and stabbed it diagonally which was very cathartic and added an extra touch of anger.

next step will involve ink and paint and some handstitching

it's called 'unfinished business'

* a meditation on 2009 and plans for 2010 may follow - or may not, depending how the spirit moves me