Saturday, December 29, 2007

First Steps

Diana and I have been email acquaintances for some time and we met in the flesh when we both did a master class with Joan Schulze back in late September/early October in New Zealand.

We have homework from the workshop - there will be an exhibition in Brisbane in March(?) 2008 and each participant is required to submit 3 pieces. The first two are already done (workshop pieces, no second thoughts allowed) but the third piece is up to us. Size and shape is set and cannot be altered, but interpretation is our own business.

I have been avoiding actually doing anything, though I have been thinking about possibilities. Diana, who lives in New Zealand, has obviously been doing the same. Today we made contact on another matter and we have decided to share our thinking and our approaches.

This will not be collaboration, rather mutual support. It will be interesting to see what eventuates.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Holidays = nothing done

I remember this feeling from when I was in paid employment as a teacher. Come the holidays, nothing gets done, even though you thought you would spend every moment doing the things you had no time for during the term.

I have finished unpicking the Christmas quilt blocks and have decided on edging each one with a wide satin stitch. But I haven't done it.

I did a bit of cleaning up in the storeroom and the table is all ready for making fabric paper. I have a collection of paper napkins that should make a great surface. When?

I found my old sun printing boards and we threw out a few boxes today which I really should have salvaged to make more. Perhaps I will raid the bin again tomorrow.

I need to focus.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

We went for a walk this morning at Manning Park and I collected more feathers in 10 minutes than I have in the last 10 months. I suspect a seagull got the worse of a battle with a crow.

I am planning to use these, along with the others I have collected, to do some sunprinting. Certainly the weather is VERY suitable - over 40 Celsius (105 Fahrenheit) for the last 2 days.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

Kevin has posted his take on the day. I agree with his comments.
However, I wish to offer him my apologies - he DID go shopping, and I love book vouchers!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Tomorrow is Christmas - the big day

and I think I have lost it. I remember how years ago we had to balance the demands from each side of the family: lunch here this year meant dinner at another place, and you had to keep track or someone would be offended that no-one turned up to Brunch the next year. Plus the washing up! If it wasn't your house you (females only) had to help wash the dishes and I can still recall the acrimony when a relation on one side did not move from her chair for this chore.

I think we went through all of this for the kids. Christmas is for children and possibly if we had grandchildren I would be less of a grouch.

I remember catering for 25 or 30 people for lunch. Even though everyone brought food, it was one's responsibility as the host to make sure it all came together. There are some dreadful memories: over beating the cream so it became butter, being confronted with a frozen whole barramundi (uncooked) at 12 noon when lunch was supposed to be at 12.30 . . . thank goodness no-one in our family has ever suffered from food allergies or intolerances. Bikkies and dips and nuts kept everyone happy until the food actually appeared on the table.

Tomorrow we are going to my sister's for lunch. There will only be 9 of us and no children. I have spent some time this afternoon making a prawn and pasta salad and a potato salad. Tomorrow morning I will make a fruit salad. All the presents will be put in the washing basket - the easiest way to transport them - but it will be rather sparse compared to some years in the past.

I have just spoken to the neighbours as they came home. Nikita is 5 and doesn't want to go to bed, but has been told by her mother, reinforced by me, that Santa doesn't come till you are asleep. Our kids knew that. We had a fireplace in our Bicton house which Santa used every year. The evidence was his footprints in the snow (talc) that was scattered on the hearth.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Presents

Since I am not sure whether I will score one from Kevin this year (He is totally allergic to shopping) I have bought myself a present from Dale: a bundle of embellishment felts and a flower stitcher.

I have gone a bit over the top on HIS pressy - nothing like heaping on the guilt!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Metal as anything

Following on from yesterday's posting, I have delved into my cupboards and discovered quite a pile of useable metal bits (a dozen tops from Milo tins that have been heat coloured, some fine copper sheet from a workshop with Carole Redlich in 2005, a packet of metal bits - including some meshes and patinated pieces, a copper pot scourer that I had dipped into patinating fluid, some copper curls and three rolls of metal shim.) There is really no excuse not to get playing with metal again - that is, apart from finishing the shopping for gifts and my food contributions for Christmas Day. Only four days left!

I have made one of my previous efforts into a book cover.

I also unearthed some pieces that I did in Carol's workshop that I never knew what to do with. I still don't know, but I am thinking about it now.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

. . . this Lustr'ed cloth . . .

A friend has suggested that since I am such an addict to books and magazines I should write about them on the blog. So here is my first offering.

I really like the cover of this book. Coppery colours appeal to me and the illustrated piece looks interesting and tactile. Unfortunately the interior layout does not reflect the same quality. First, there is the very twee and irritating use of three or four word quotations from Shakespeare as headings for sections. Second is the layout itself. There is very little white space, which makes the book hard to read. While there are copious photographs they are not always well-captioned. Some have no captions at all. I always skim a book looking at the pictures and the captions as my first reading and I found it to be very difficult with this publication.

These gripes aside, the content is impressive. While parts are repetitive, there are exhaustive and very clear directions on materials, colouring techniques, patterning and texturing, embellishments such as beads and braiding, combining metals with textiles and stitching by hand and machine. There are four projects which look very interesting (I am not a fan of project type books, but I am tempted to try a couple of these). At the end is a small gallery of works by the author and three other artists.

My opinion? I have played with combining metal and stitch before, but I am now inspired to do more. And isn't this the desired result?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Workshop on the Web

The December issue has been online for more than a fortnight, but I only just got around to looking at it today. There are several articles that really interest me this time.

I have subscribed to Workshop on the Web since it began. I usually print off the articles that interest me and file them in a binder. Then I can never remember when a particular article was posted, so I go looking in the index of back issues. As I do, I notice other articles that sound interesting and haven't been printed out before, so I print them. By now I think I have printed off 99% of them.

Today when I started to print the December ones I noticed that the last lot I had filed was back in March, so I have downloaded June and September and will print them off in due course. I now need a new binder as well.

There is a new series called QuiltWow. The taster issue is quite interesting, but I am not sure that I will be subscribing.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hot and cold

Strange weather we are having. It has been raining on and off for two days now. When it is raining it is quite cold. When it stops it is humid and sticky. I am not really liking it.

We have been looking for a fridge for Helen. She inherited our old one when we bought a new one for the Munster house and we have had her old one as a second/beer fridge. Apparently the fridge that was ours is not working all that well - possibly because it is a bit big for the alcove in her kitchen and is not getting enough ventilation. So she wants a new one. We will take hers(ours) back and pass her old one onto Martin when he moves into the unit.

But what about her? She passed the job of fridge finding on to Kevin, and we started by looking at secondhand fridges. We went to look at 2 yesterday. Both looked very out of date and had visible rust. One seller wanted $400, the other $250. We passed on both of them. Then we went to a dealer in secondhand fridges in Willetton. Fridges in better condition, but at prices approaching new discounted ones. Then we went into the city to a seconds store and discovered that the "seconds" were actually the same price as other stock. Obviously a brand new one was the way to go and we identified a suitable model.

I went out alone today and visited five different retailers. The same model was being sold at wildly different prices - almost $200 difference.

We have made our decision and bought the fridge. Kevin will collect it tomorrow, but we won't install it till the weekend when brother Graham can help.

The only fibre I have done is a bit more unpicking on the blocks - four down.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Deconstruction, ? reconstruction

I sliced up the hated swapped block quilt today. I have saved the sashing and border pieces - I think I might cut them into smaller strips and use them in plaiting or coiling to make something else - not sure what, but I can't just throw them away. They will probably end up in a plastic bag in the cupboard.

I have frogstitched (rippit,rippit) three of the blocks, and I think that I will be able to salvage them as individual quilted blocks quite easily. I still have the tenth block, plenty of backing and wadding. At the moment I am thinking of overlocked edges and faggoting to make a 5 by 2 table runner.

Whatever. It cannot help but be better.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Magazines, books and other hard copies

I tidied up the living area today and put some magazines into new boxes, which meant that there was not enough space in the bookshelf there.

So some of them had to go out to the storeroom to join the serried ranks of previously saved issues. The bookcase there is nearly full and I am beginning to wonder why I have saved so many. Perhaps I should start an eBay shop - I believe that some may be worth money.

I have read suggestions that one should just pull articles of interest from the magazines, then junk them. I HAVE done that - but that just means more paper to add to the printouts from the Internet and the photocopies from books which are piling up and should be filed . . . . where? Besides, when I do go through old magazines I find stuff that I didn't consider interesting or useful the first time round.

I need help! How do other book and magazine addicts deal with this problem?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Contemporary Quilt Group

It was the last meeting for the year so we all took along yummy food. We were asked to bring examples of textiles that had meaning for us as well, so I took along the 1930's quilt that I rescued from Martin's car some years ago. He was using it to wrap his guitars and was quite happy to exchange it for a blanket.

Cherry spoke about ways to get started on making a contemporary quilt. Coincidentally, I received in the mail this morning this book which had been highly spoken of by several people on one of the internet mailing lists I subscribe to, so I took that along too.

I am resisting the urge to just flip through this one. I intend to at least attempt to work through the exercises. We will see.

After the meeting I went to visit my 95 year old friend Jean. I hadn't seen her for a couple of months, since we were in NZ in October and I was still full of cold in November and didn't want to risk passing it on. She is well, but more and more frustrated with her poor vision. Even large print books and a magnifying glass are now difficult and she is down to a book a week, sometimes less. For a previously avid reader this is disappointing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fighting with Forms

I have spent most of the day wrestling with forms, both on the internet and in hard copy. We have decided to sell off all the small shareholdings which we have acquired by legacy. 100 shares divided by 3 amounts to a very small holding.

If you don't have a broker you can sell on the internet, but it isn't really easy. Plus the costs can be prohibitive. We have one shareholding that is worth about $300 and the fee to sell it from one internet broker who advertises "easy and cheap sales" would be $50. Guess for whom the trade is most profitable? We enquired about real world fees as well - even higher.

So we decided to go with the well known subsidiary of a bank. It was easy to set up a trading account on the internet, but to get the best financial deal we had to open a separate bank account. Not so easy! I downloaded a 25 page document. All the document had to be sent back to them - not just the applicable pages. I could see the postage being very expensive. And I initially read it wrong and thought we had to go through the 100 point bit (driver's license or passport + a piece of mail addressed to your domicile plus identification by bank staff as well as a statutory declaration from someone who has known you for more than 12 months who fits into a list of approved occupations). We have had a joint account at this bank for more than 40 years so I was cranky - to put it mildly!

I charged off to the local branch and spoke to a lady who was very kind to me (obviously has to deal with seniors often) and pointed out that I had not noticed that having an already established account exempted us from all this. I came home and filled in all the relevant pages then noticed that it was to be sent to a postage paid address, so I couldn't even feel hard done by that!

I am not sure how long it will take before we can actually sell the shares we want to get rid of. I am also belatedly feeling some sympathy for students who misread exam questions!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Party

I thoroughly enjoyed today's gathering of the Secret Drawer group. The quilt blocks went to our newest member, and we will probably stop making them now. Cynthia is the only one who hasn't received them, and she begged off last year too.

We did a bit of reminiscing and have decided that we will have to make 2008 a year to remember, because it is 20 years since the group formed. I cannot believe it, but I know it's fact!!

I didn't take the quilt - I didn't want to endure the pitying looks. I woke up this morning with a new plan in mind. I will cut up the quilt into its individual blocks again, quilt each of them more extensively, and either bind or satin stitch the edges, so each is a mini quilt. Then I will collect them into a 5 x2 arrangement, join them together with faggoting and have a Christmas table runner/cloth. Hope it works.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Quilt

I finished quilting this - and I hate it. It is probably a candidate for Ami Simms' "World's Worst Quilts"

I may take it tomorrow just to apologise. The blocks need more quilting and the sashing needs less. I am NOT putting binding on at this stage. In fact, I am considering chopping it up and reassembling it as a QAYG.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Worn out

I feel absolutely knackered.

We got up very early so we could beat the traffic. Kevin had to be in Perth by 8.15 am for jury duty so we decided we needed to allow lots of time. We beat the traffic all right - we were in Perth in 25 minutes which was an hour earlier than we needed to be. So we did a bit of driving around in Kings Park. Very pleasant. I dropped him off and came home. I noticed that the northbound freeway traffic was hardly moving - we could have been caught if we had left after 7.30.

When I got home I resumed work on the Christmas block assembly. I haven't machine quilted anything larger than 50cm square for so long that I have lost all the skills I think I once had. I am NOT happy with the quilting, but it is almost finished except for some freemotion stars in the border which I hope to do tomorrow afternoon. Trim to size, whack on a binding and I might be able to take it to the Christmas gathering for the group that supplied the blocks back in 2005 on Wednesday afternoon. I have finished my swap block and bought a gift. Just need to defrost some crab and lime quiches which I made last week to take along as my contribution to the food.

I tried to remember to take lots of breaks, but my shoulders are aching. Early night tonight. At least Kevin doesn't have to go back tomorrow - he managed to get a discharge on the basis of his age.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Fabric Paper

At Alcira's yesterday part of the Show and Tell were two examples of the fabric paper made in the workshop with Pam Annesley.

Margaret's piece is ready to be constructed into the book that Pam had as a workshop sample.

Alcira has already made hers into a concertina book with beads. Wonderful stuff.

I have been trying to quilt my Christmas blocks today. An hour's sewing, two hours unpicking. Tomorrow I will try the walking foot.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Inchie Challenge

Today was the December gathering of Designing Women. We met at Alcira's house for lots of socialising and a brief meeting, followed by lunch. The food was yummy and we all had a great time.

There was some wonderful Show and Tell, including some of the inchies that were swapped at the Retreat in September.

Helen made hers into a cuff - an idea that had everyone wanting to copy.

Delys mounted hers on the six sides of a cube. There were only 13, so she made others, using the fabric paper from Pam's workshop for some of them.

Loraine used hers to decorate a needlecase.

And I did the obvious and boring thing and put them into a frame.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

More work on the assembly

There were four of us this morning, so Pam and Iris devoted themselves to the orange panel while Juliet and I focussed on getting the blue ones finished. All panels will be assembled in two parts to allow for some tweaking of length when they are all ready to be hung.

There were three units to be joined together to make a row which would then be joined with the last completed row. The units were fiddly since they had to match up with their partners on the other panel. Two units successfully joined. Then we realised that the middle unit was going to be too short to allow for future tweaking, so another piece had to be inserted. This was not easy.

Each "pojagi" style seam has 3 rows of stitching so there was quite a bit of unpicking to be done before another piece could be added and all the lines of stitching replaced. However it was done. Picture above is from an early sample.

One more unit to be attached. A seam was carefully matched and I stitched together the two pieces. The seam allowance was trimmed to .5cm. Then we realised that the final piece had been reversed and the bits had been sewn wrong side to right side instead of both wrong sides together. More unpicking and fiddly sewing, but it was finished before I had to leave for an appointment.

Juliet had finished attaching the bottom hem pieces and said she would get the last seam done before she packed up. I hope she did - I don't want to see those blue panels again till the very end!

This was the last assembly session till after Christmas. The big launch is in March. I think there will be a few full-on days before then.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Melville Textile Project

I trotted off this morning expecting to see huge progress having been made in the two days I couldn't go last week. Unfortunately the blue panels are still proving hard to finish.

However Juliet and Iris decided to make a start on the orange panels and by the end of the afternoon we had made visible progress with about a third of one orange panel assembled.

No photos again. Sorry.

We were able to leave everything set up because the hall wasn't being used this evening. That's a huge bonus because it takes so long to set up and then take down.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Again no fibre

but we went to the retirement function for my sister. Dorothy now has 4 days work left before she joins the ranks of the self funded retirees. I hope she enjoys it as much as we do.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Birthdays, food and things other than fibre

Wednesday was busy. Computer Club in the morning with a demonstration of some ideas for Christmas items to make quickly using the 4D software. My Show and Tell was pictures of the quilts I have in the Australia Wide exhibition.

Then I went to the fortnightly meeting of our friendship group. Only four of us there. I think that as we all get older we have more and more things to take up our time. Our last meeting for the year is on the 12th of December and hopefully everyone will be able to attend.

It was Helen's birthday and I had invited her for dinner, so I had to make an effort. I thawed some of the prawns we bought a couple of weeks ago and I marinated them in a mixture of soy, lemon zest, palm sugar and fresh chopped coriander. I made a sauce to accompany them with lemon juice and sweet chilli sauce. A potato salad and a green salad completed the main course. Dessert was strawberries marinated in Cointreau with a little caster sugar. We cooked the prawns on the barbecue and ate outside though it was quite chilly. It is not quite summer evenings yet, even if the days are hot.

Today was Kevin's birthday. He got his presents from Helen and I at breakfast, then she went off to school. I had an appointment with the optometrist which involved pupil dilating drops, so Kevin had to act as my chauffeur.

We haven't done much the rest of the day. I did wash some towels - does that count as fibre?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Textile Project

We worked very hard today, but we didn't manage to finish either panel. Doesn't help when you discover a LONG seam has been stitched in the wrong direction and requires unpicking and restitching. Pam did that task. What a trooper! Both Juliet and Iris seem quite happy with progress and are sure that the two panels will be finished by Thursday afternoon. I hope so.

I can't go again this week, but I am keeping my fingers crossed for them.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Melville Community Textile Art Project

Assembly of the panels is proving to be a very time and thought consuming process. This is Iris contemplating today's progress.

We did, however, make some progress and it looks as though tomorrow we will have definitely one, and possibly two, panels done. Only eight more to go!

Each of the inset pieces has some sort of story. Juliet spent a lot of time on Norm today, and I will try to get a picture tomorrow. This is a piece done by members of the Embroiderers' Guild. The pojagi-style seams look great but they are really slow going. I only managed to finish two blocks today - nine seams in total.

Tomorrow is the last day I can go this week.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Image transfer again

I think the demonstration I gave today to the Innovative Stitches group at the Embroiderers' Guild was a success. I repeated the talk I gave to the Contemporary Quilt Group in August, and there was a lot of interest, but I added some other methods of image transfer that I have been playing with since then. There are a couple of them on yesterday's blog. The printed vliesofix caught people's imagination so I hope to see some great results from that.

One of the transfers I tried yesterday was using a solvent (a citrus based cleaner) to transfer a laser printed image. It was only partially successful - I think because there is not enough carbon in the laser toner. This was the original

and here is a scan of the result.

I think a search for an old/secondhand toner based photocopier is in the immediate future.

My demonstration was followed by one from Hannah Katarski who has just had an exhibition at Heathcote. I have never met Hannah before - Perth is a small textile community but you don't necessarily know everyone, though you get to know names. Hannah has been playing with gel medium transfers from inkjet transparencies for a while and her results were much more appealing than mine. An interesting twist - she also uses water to transfer ink from transparencies. Great effects. I will definitely be playing with this technique.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Image transfer to fabric

I have spent a large part of the day playing with image transfers. These are some samples for the demonstration I am giving tomorrow.

This is an image inkjet printed on a transparency, then transferred to fabric with gel medium. As usual I was a bit heavy handed and the image is smeared.

I took this photo of giant lily pads in the Pamplemousse Gardens in Mauritius in 2005. Today I printed it out on Vleisofix and ironed it onto fabric. This is the first time I have tried this - I usually just paint the Vliesofix. I think the results are quite interesting and I will be trying this again.

This morning I went to Bestway with my Orchidea machine. It took David less than a minute to fix it. What had happened was that I was winding a bobbin with invisible thread. I thought I was going slowly enough, but it overheated the bobbin and it jammed onto the winding drive. I left it to cool and then pulled it off, but pulled out the shaft and the locking mechanism which was still inside the bobbin. The machine thought I was still winding a bobbin and wouldn't stitch. I got the mechanism out, but was too scared to try and push the shaft back. Not so David. A bit of a whack, push the locking bit on and it was fixed! No charge either. Thank you so much. Oh, and I didn't give blood. I woke up this morning with ANOTHER cold. Hope this one is milder than the last one.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

This and That

Today's photo is of the flowers on the bauhinia trees in our back garden. They are almost all finished now. This is a fill-in because I didn't do much today.

I helped to assemble some of the Melville Textile Art project. It is really slow going: 4 hours to get three sections together (approximately 20% of one panel - and there are 10 of them!!) Should have taken a photo - I DID have my camera, but of course failed to use it. I managed to mess up my machine too, so off to Bestway tomorrow after I give blood.

Then I went to a funeral. Enough of today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Christmas Top finished

I finished assembling the blocks today. There are 10 of them, so I could either make a 9 block top and leave one out, or make 2 more for a 12 block top. No prizes for guessing my decision!

I decided to leave out my own block from the assembly, but I will applique it to the back after the whole thing is sandwiched and quilted. I thought about piecing it into the backing, but I always seem to have troubles keeping everything straight. The backing is printed with lines of text, so that will be challenge enough.

This is a very bad photo of the finished top.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Show and Tell

It was Sewing Club day today so I took along the zebra bag, minus the computer. Another girl who did the same workshop had two cushions using the designs we developed. Her designs were quite different to mine, though we started from the same bitmapped image.

A couple of people asked about the designs I made for the handles. That was easy - after using the Design Wizard to select and digitise the outlined zebras I used the endless hoop and just kept on repeating the designs till I had a length that was useable.

I have started on my Christmas obligations. Every member of the friendship group I belong to makes a Christmas block each year, using a common fabric. We put them in a bag and pull one out. The maker of that block takes them all, then supplies a 30cm square of fabric for the following year.

Tonight I started to assemble the Christmas blocks I won in 2005 to make a wall hanging. I was inspired (?) by the issue of the fabric for this year's blocks. What happened to 2006??

Monday, November 19, 2007

More catch up on the week past

Glenys Mann stayed with us from Sunday midday to Tuesday evening last week.

We went to the textile exhibition at Heathcote on Sunday afternoon. I had been the week before and had loved the work, but particularly the pieces by Christine Atkins (who is a member of Designing Women - boast, boast). Glenys was also impressed. Then we went to Midland to Gomboc Gallery to see the exhibition of paintings by Margaret Woodward. This painter is a favourite of Glenys's and she had really wanted to see the exhibition. I have a friend with the same name, but she is not a painter who can ask for (and get!) $45000 for a painting. I also took Glenys to see the Railway Workshops sculptures and the Coal Dam while we were in Midland.

Monday we went to Fremantle and hit the bookshops, new and secondhand, then went to the Fremantle Arts Centre. Great exhibitions on at the moment: Olga Cironis has wrapped a tree in blankets, Susan Flavell has built heroic size figures from cardboard strips, Ruth Parker has made fabulous curtains from rusted bottle tops and Nicole Andrijevic and Tanya Schultz have used sugar crystals and icing on motorised mirrors to make a magical fairy land.

Tuesday evening we went to the WAFTA meeting. I have been a member for a few years, but rarely manage to go to the meetings since I don't like driving at night. After the meeting we went to the airport so Glenys could get the red eye special. She has since told me that she lucked out and had 3 seats to herself, so could sleep. Wouldn't happen to me!!

Wednesday morning we got a call from Esperance where Kevin's sister and niece live. His sister had had an accident with boiling oil and was being sent to Perth for evaluation by the Burns Unit at Royal Perth Hospital.

A description of the rest of the week can be found on the family blog.

Today we have been prawning. We bought a 10kg box of "soft and broken" king prawns from a fishery company in Fremantle on the recommendation of a friend. It works out to $11 a kilo and despite the name the prawns look great. We are sharing them with Graham, Kevin's brother, and Helen so we weighed them into 1.5kg bags. Then we had to find freezer space.

There was a 1.5kg package I had bought earlier in the year that obviously needed eating first so they have been defrosted, peeled and half of them cooked tonight. The rest will be cooked tomorrow. When you remove heads and shells, 1.5kg is reduced to 750g. Still a lot of prawns for 2 people to consume. And the processing is dangerous. I have so many cuts and puncture wounds from the shells that I wonder if I should get a tetanus injection!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Catching up with events

Last Saturday (November 10) Designing Women did a paper fabric workshop with Pam Annesley. Everyone really enjoyed it and there were some great pieces produced. Now we have to make something out of it! Pam supplied a few ideas, including a book for storing ATCs.

Here are some pics of a couple of the girls at work. I intentionally focussed on Margaret's piece rather than her - it's not my lack of skill that has left her out of the picture.

It was a hot day and as Iris and I were locking up at the end of the afternoon we took care to stay out of the way of this visitor.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Back to blogging

I haven't blogged for a fortnight and am now getting back to it I hope.

This is one of the huge Moreton Bay fig trees that grow opposite the golf course part of Bibra Lake Reserve. There are three of them and I think they must be at least 100 years old. Similar trees in Perth CBD are unpopular because of the mess they make when the inedible fruit drops and the way the roots destroy pavements and neighbouring walls. No such problems here.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Getting to the nitty-gritty

The Melville Community Textile Project is approaching its end. "All" that is left to do is sewing the pieces together . . . .

There are 130 of them. The project is planned to have 5 panels: each 1 metre by 2.2 metres. Each panel has two layers, so effectively there are 10 panels to construct.

The planned design is lovely; the construction is yet to begin. Because it is using sheer fabrics, the construction details will be very obvious - hence the decision to use "pojagi" type seams. Juliet and Iris investigated a number of alternatives and have settled on a stitched down French seam.

I went to a workshop today for people who have volunteered to help assemble the panels. The intention was to develop consistent seams across a range of sewers and, more importantly, sewing machines. We used several different organzas and tried various threads, ending up with the invisible thread that will be used in the final assembly.

The first assembly session is next Thursday. I am able to attend, so I will report back.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fabric Hunting

I went out with a friend today on a quest to buy synthetic organza which was not too shiny and wasn't crystal organza. Juliet wanted matte organza to use for the construction of the fabric panels for the Melville Community Textile Art Project.

She had scoured fabric stores south of the river and decided to venture north. I volunteered to go with her and we had a pleasant day. We bought quite a few pieces, but found that almost all that was available was too shiny for what she wanted. We both remember that a couple of years ago there was plenty of the matte - why it has changed is hard to work out.

We went to a fabric store in Subiaco, then to a wholesalers - Parkinson and Mann in Osborne Park . Their organza was not suitable but we got a great buy on Olfa rotary cutter blades - a bit less than $7 each by buying 6. Juliet bought some for the project. I bought some for myself.

After a fruitless visit to Fabulous Fabrics in Balcatta we decided to call in to Collins Craft. Juliet had not been there before - I hadn't been for a couple of years. We both bought some metal shim and some other bits and pieces. A visit to Textile Traders yielded a couple of bits of organza and provided some temptation in the form of printed silk chiffon. I resisted, however.

Then we went to West Leederville where we discovered the outlet was for wholesale curtain fabrics, so we consoled ourselves with a coffee. What next? We could have gone home, but we went to East Fremantle to a textile exhibition at the Old George which was still open. Fabulous stuff. Textile pieces by Jennie Abbott, silk painting and shibori dyeing by Marlene Page and delightful jewellery by Debbie Dieckmann. I am planning another visit before it closes next Sunday.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Reading Addiction

I have not done any sewing for nearly a week. I have stitched out all the zebras and have pulled some black and white fabrics from the stash to use for sashing and/or lining of the the proposed bag. But I am not feeling inspired enough to actually complete the project.

Instead I have been indulging myself in my other favourite pastime: reading fiction. While I read a lot I usually read fantasy and science fiction, with occasional sorties into crime fiction.

This week I haven't read a single SF/Fantasy book. Instead I have ventured into chicklit: Liane Moriarty's "The Last Anniversary" (most enjoyable), Sophie Kinsella's "The Undomestic Goddess" (so-so); Regency romance: Stephanie Laurens' "Beyond Seduction" (I skipped the sex scenes - boring - but the story line was quite engaging) and thrillers: James Patterson's Alex Cross series (most enjoyable).

There are 13 of them to date. I read the first three before I went to New Zealand, and have now read the next six in sequence this last week. I have been visiting secondhand bookshops to buy them. I have never done this before - with SF/Fantasy I usually buy when one of the authors I favour comes out with a new book, then have to wait until the next volume appears. It has been a luxury to read one book after the other without pause. But I have had to stop - I need to visit a secondhand bookshop again to get the rest of them.

I will probably stop this compulsive reading as soon as I recover from the flu. I may even start exercising again - gentle walks first before venturing back to the gym.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A GOOD timewaster

Both of us are still unwell and we have been wandering about the house at a loss for something to do that does not require much physical or intellectual effort.

I have just rejoined a number of lists for the first time since the middle of July and I read about this website on one of them.

It is called FreeRice and it is totally addictive. It is a vocabulary quiz - for every word you can define correctly 10 grains of rice are purchased for distribution to needy people. It is sponsored by some very wellknown organisations. It started on October 7th and the totals are growing astronomically - from 870 on the first day to a total of 263,565,050 today.

There are 50 levels of vocabulary - the FAQ says that most people will not get beyond level 48. Well, I have a competitive streak. I managed to donate over 4000 grains of rice and I reached level 50 a couple of times. The program drops you back a level if you make a mistake and you need to make 3 correct responses to regain the previous level.

Ten grains of rice doesn't sound very much. However someone on one of my lists calculated that a thousand grains would be the equivalent of 100 grams, so I have supplied at least a couple of days of rice to a person who needs it. And I had fun doing it - I love word games.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stitching Disaster

Not once, but twice! I have decided what I am going to do with the zebra designs I developed on Wednesday. I will make a carry bag for the iBook with pockets for the charger and other bits.

I calculated that I needed 8 designs. OK - two already done, one in black and one in white, so I stitched out three more in black on white fabric. Then I began stitching on the black. Of course I chose the design with the most stitches. After a thousand or so I realised that the bobbin thread was pulling to the top - disaster #1. So I stopped it, reseated the bobbin thread and continued. When the design had finished I set to work to unpick the faulty portion. It took ages, even using my trusty tweezers with attached magnifying glass, and the fabric was a bit floppy in the hoop. However I decided to see if I could repair the missing section, and it worked!

Then disaster #2. The machine stopped because the bobbin was empty and I realised that I had not straightened out the fabric properly when I replaced the hoop and the repair had stitched out, not only on the design it belonged to, but also on top of the previously stitched design.

I have given up on these. Wasted time, wasted fabric, wasted thread. Tomorrow I will try again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sun, wind but no fibre

The only fibre I have had anything to do with today was the washing! Lovely sunny, windy day so the three loads dried really quickly. Apparently the temperature got to 30 degrees Celsius for the first time in months. I liked it - but I am not really looking forward to summer. When it's cold I put on more clothes. When it's hot I wear the minimum, but I still suffer - I refuse to wear nothing!!

I went to the doctor again - I am no longer coughing but I am still partially deaf. Another script for antibiotics. We have reached the safety net limit for scripts so they will all be free for the rest of the year - pity you have to need so many medications that you end up getting them free.

I had an email from Glenys Mann, with whom we travelled in New Zealand, and from whom I got my cold. She has started a blog, inspired by me and my talk of how easy it is to do. So here is a link to Glenys - I will put her on my list of blogs in a day or so.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Black and white and Zebras

I thoroughly enjoyed today's workshop, which was both software and embroidery.

In the morning we started with a bitmapped picture of a zebra and foal which we cleaned up and turned into an embroidery using the Picture Stitch module in the 4D Embroidery system. Then we played with the original picture, ending up with about eight designs all different, but all derived from the original. I loved doing this and I am planning on making some more designs tomorrow.

After lunch we stitched out two of our designs: one on black fabric in white and one on white with black thread. Pam had made a quilt from her stitchouts which looks really good. I don't know what I will do with mine yet. Obviously I will need more than two.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Struggles with the laptop

I spent hours yesterday trying to connect the PC laptop to the Internet without success. It appears that when a friend configured it to make a wireless connection (this was done after we bought the iBook and I had left for New Zealand) he made some adjustment that prevents it accessing the Internet any other way. Since we do not have a wireless connection at home - no Internet access for the PC.

I was trying to download an update for the 4D Embroidery software. It was recommended to do this with an update feature in the software linked directly to the supplier. I eventually gave up and downloaded the patch onto the Mac, planning to transfer it via flash drive today.

Another bout of frustration. I kept getting an error message and the update wouldn't load. I actually downloaded the whole thing three times from the web site, in case there had been an error in transfer. At 103MB for the file it was a tad time consuming. Eventually I bit the bullet, took the laptop out to Bestway and had Pam load it for me. Pam is an expert, but even she had a little trouble.

So now I have an updated program all ready for tomorrow's workshop. I am looking forward to it, even though I am still not feeling 100%.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A hundred day cough?

That's what the flight attendant said to me on Monday on the plane from Christchurch to Auckland as I was convulsing despite the lollies and eucalyptus sniffing patch I had been given - "I think you have the 100 day cough". EWWW!

I certainly didn't recover well from that flight - ears blocked and persistent cough. Kevin was now feeling very poorly too. We gave a lot of money to a pharmacy in Queen Street with little real relief. Auckland's weather wasn't all that wonderful either - driving rain on Monday night, rainy periods on the Tuesday.

We took the Auckland Explorer bus tour on Tuesday, and would have enjoyed the experience a whole lot more if we had been feeling better. Loved the Pacific artifacts on display at the Auckland Museum though. We know a lot about Papua New Guinea, but not enough about the other Melanesian and Pacific islands. Google - here I come.

We flew home on Wednesday direct to Perth and I was so glad that we had booked business class. I was almost deaf and coughing lots - but bubbly sure helps to relieve the pain. Helen picked us up and took us home. By then I couldn't hear anything much at all.

Yesterday we both went to the doctor and antibiotics were prescribed. He syringed my ears and that helped too.

I admit I am feeling a bit better today. I haven't done anything textile-y for over a fortnight so I would like to start playing again. I hope the dire prediction of a hundred days is wrong!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Exciting News

I was going to blog this at the time, but I didn't have the photos on the laptop.

While I was in New Zealand I received an email that BOTH the quilts I entered in the Australia Wide exhibition were accepted. I am so chuffed! I thought one of them had a good chance, but it is really exciting that both got in. I posted them off today.

This quilt is called On a Summer Beach and has images of vegetation at Woodman Point printed on silk and silk organza then machine stitched.
This one is called Gyre (WB Yeats). It is inspired by the opening lines of his poem titled The Second Coming:
"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold"
It concerns my reaction to happenings in today's world. I thought of how the circle of bad things was widening, pushing the good things into the centre, where they break up and fall apart.

There were 76 entries from 53 members for the exhibition. 46 quilts, made by 37 people, were chosen. 10 of those were made by people who belong to the WA Contemporary Quilt group, so I think we have made a significant contribution.

The exhibition will be online at the Ozquilt Network site from the last week in November. I am looking forward to seeing the other successful entries.

Monday, October 15, 2007

On the last leg

We have just had three days in Christchurch. It is a beautiful city and looks its best in springtime with blossoms everywhere. These are rhododendrons.

We did the TranzAlpine train trip over the mountains to the West Coast. It was great and the weather was very kind. This has not often been the case!

Yesterday we tried to go to a big outdoor market/Swap meet, but only lasted about 10 minutes before the skies opened. We spent the afternoon at the Arts Centre and Museum and, when the rain had stopped, spent a bit of time in the Botanic Gardens.

Today we flew to Auckland and plan to take a bus tour tomorrow to catch the highlights. Wednesday afternoon we get on the plane to Perth, a slightly less than 8 hour trip. I think we will both be glad to be home - me particularly because I have come down with a nasty cold.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Forum over, Odyssey begins

I have heaps of photos of the wonderful creations from the Forum, but since I am now on a wireless connection that has to be paid for, I won't post them now. Isn't it always the way? We had free internet at Lindale, but I never had time. Now I have time, I'm a bit concerned about cost.

The Forum finished Sunday with an Open session and display of student work, plus a bazaar with people selling their creations. I bought a lovely nuno scarf. I just hope I wear it - I have been wearing scarves all the time here in NZ, but it's often too hot in WA. In the afternoon we took the train into Wellington and went to the Te Papa, the NZ National Museum. It is a really great place.

I stayed in Wellington at a hotel I had booked on the Internet. It was quite nice, and situated on a street that has heaps of cutting edge fashion shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. I went for a walk when the rain stopped. The shops were closed, but the rest was booming. I felt very safe, more so than I would have in Northbridge.

Kevin's plane came in on time - rather a bumpy landing, though - and he got a taxi to the hotel. Next morning we walked down Cuba Street to find somewhere to have breakfast, then braved the gale and went to Te Papa before we had to meet the others at the ferry for the trip to the South Island.

We are in Blenheim at the moment, going to Kaikoura tomorrow. I hope we can access the net there.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Forum Days 3 and 4

I got up early on Tuesday and took this photo of the sunrise. It was SO cold!

Here is a sample of some of the work that is being produced in the workshop. These are the trifold fans.

I am too tired to write more tonight - will try to put up more pics tomorrow.

I have been trying to ring Kevin in Brisbane, but the number is coming up as engaged. Bit of a bummer really - I want to use up the phone card!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Forum Days One and two

We worked very hard yesterday and today. I am doing a master class with Joan Schulze called Fanning Creativity. We will be doing lots of different techniques, eventually producing items for an exhibition in Brisbane next year.

Tuesday we experimented with at least five techniques: making a folded book, learning the pamphlet stitch, making a random fabric collage by sharing bits with others, photocopying the results and turning them into a glue transfer and making fabric paper.

I am sure there were more things we did, but that kept us really busy.

Today we have worked on our glue transfers, made a trifold fan and prepared fabric packages. We also made transparencies and printed one of our packages on the photocopier.

I did not realise that the trifold fan was actually to go in the exhibition and I treated it as a sample, not taking a lot of time or care on it. BIG mistake! So now I have to find some time to make another one that is of a higher standard.

Tomorrow we are making monoprints and doing other things with paint. I hope to be able to download some photos soon.

Monday, October 1, 2007


It was a fabulous show, not just a parade of amazing garments. There were comedians, dancers and some excellent aerialists. Like Cirque du Soleil there was so much going on at any one time that you tended to miss things. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We had very good seats in the second row of the balcony so our view was completely unobstructed. Photography was not allowed, but here is a link to an official video of the show

The performance consisted of a number of excellently choreographed scenes, each based on one of the sections of the competition. The first was the Children's section and the theme was a Monsters' Ball. There were some wonderful entries, including one called There's a Bed on My Monster which was really clever, and one which was like a pile of books named Grimm's Furry Tales.

Another memorable section involved a Buster Keaton film being shown on the screen at the back of the stage while a real character extended the action ie the film character climbed a tree which was then blown away, while the real character descended to the stage clinging to a tree which was lowered from the ceiling. Great fun.

There were many other great bits but this post is getting a bit long.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Zealand -Day One

The drive from Wellington Airport to Paraparaumu where we are staying took about an hour, but was very scenic and interesting.

Wellington is a very pretty city with lots of hills and water. There are many old timber houses which reminded me a little of Eureka in California, though I didn't see any quite as ornate.

The highway goes along the coast and is quite spectacular. The hills are very steep and very green, while the edge of the ocean is rocky with waves pounding against the shore.

The motel is interesting. The room I have has no storage for clothes or cases, except a portable hanging rack. It is a disabled room, so the shower has no sill, but the shower curtain only goes half way round, so you have the choice of getting water all over the toilet or all over the floor. And there is no soap dish in the shower, which I found very strange.

The rooms connect, so the family room next door which Glenys and another tutor are sharing has been set up as a common room where we can gather together. They do have a separate bedroom.

This afternoon we are catching the train to Wellington where we are going to the final night of the WOW (World of Wearable Art) performance. I am looking forward to it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

It works!

I tried the wireless internet connection at Perth and Sydney airports with no success.

When we arrived at this motel (Lindale Lodge) in Paraparaumu I asked what type of connection was available. Free wireless! So I set up the computer, did the connection bit, opened Firefox and there it was - the internet unleashed.

So I hope to blog everyday.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ready to Go

The case is all packed and I am pretty sure I haven't forgotten anything. Kevin got on the bathroom scales with it and it weighs 21 kilos. I should be able to get away with that. I think a lot of the weight is the stuff I need for the workshop. For clothing I have layers. I have been looking at the weather on the internet and it's been pretty chilly as well as quite wet. I am carrying my rain jacket. The plane leaves just after midnight and I get to Sydney at 6 am, with a 3 hour wait for the plane to Wellington. However I have to get from one terminal to another so that will fill in time.

We gave up the struggle to get wireless connection on the laptop. It is only 3 years old , but it is a PC and a cheap one at that. This morning Kevin went out to Willetton Senior High School where he used to teach and the technician there spent a couple of hours on it without success. So this afternoon we went and bought a MacBook. It works straight out of the box, plus it has a dual core processor so when we get back I should be able to load the embroidery software on it. Then I'll sell the old one, but I don't think we'll get much for it.

I hope I will be able to update the blog fairly often. The motel we are staying at for the first week has Internet access. Since I am not sure that it will be wireless I have also packed an ethernet cable. Probably won't need it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Countdown to New Zealand

Only 3 days to go - and there is still a lot to do.

I am still battling with the wireless connection on the laptop computer - I made two calls today to the Belkin Support global site. Both of them involved young ladies with almost incomprehensible accents and whatever I did with the first one was reversed by the second. I am now told that I have to switch on the wireless connection on the computer, but the computer help site says this has to be done by the wireless connection software! I am going round in circles.

I did get most of the workshop requirements organised. I just need to cut up some fabric lengths, find my trusty hand towel and a flat stick and I'm done. It's not too daunting when it is all collected together - I might be able to fit in a few more clothes.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The power of advertising

I sold my D1 at last! A lady came to look at it a couple of months ago, loved it but decided that money was too tight. I stopped advertising while we went to the States, then recently put a couple of ads into Quokka where my machine was competing with another D1 whose owner was asking nearly double the amount I was. Original interested buyer was now able to stretch the finances, had been to see the competition, was not impressed and thought about mine. But I didn't advertise this week (forgot about it actually) so she rang to see if it was still available.

We are both happy. She has a very good machine and I no longer feel guilty that I wasn't using it since I bought the SE from my cousin. I must confess that the money will come in handy too since I looked at the credit card balance today.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Post #200

I wish I had something terrifically fibre based to write about for this landmark posting, but I don't.

Yesterday I spent entirely too much time downloading security updates for my laptop. I think Microsoft sucks. It took me all afternoon to download and install one file. I hate that you can spend an hour waiting for an installation to finish and then it decides to tell you that it has failed.

I have decided I want to try to blog from New Zealand and so I needed to install better security. I rarely connect the laptop to the Internet - almost all our internet stuff is done on the Macs and we use thumb drives to transfer files. We have bought and installed a WiFi card on the laptop and finally succeeded in installing the required security. Still haven't tested the connection - probably tomorrow at the Dome cafe in Fremantle which offers free access.

We then went out to dinner to a friend's house where we ate some very nice curry and I drank a little too much wine. I have been a bit slow today.

Helen came round in the late morning. Her printer is out of ink and she needed some pics printed of the T&E projects her students have been making so they can be displayed for the Parents' Night on Tuesday. Mum and Dad to the rescue again - except our printer ran out of ink too! We will try a refill tomorrow.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Little fibre today, but I made another set of "gellies". These are Plaid dimensional paint, squeezed on to the shiny side of freezer paper and left to dry. Some 24 hours later, peel them off and you have these things that you can glue to paper, fabric etc. Not too sure about their durability, though.

This was an idea I gleaned from Tracey Bautista's article in the second issue of Altered Couture. I am still thinking about an outfit for the last night of the NZ Fibre Forum, but I think I am running out of time.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Textile Project and Hat Challenge

Last night's viewing of the pieces prepared for the Melville Community Textile Art Project was amazing. There were over 130 pieces of textile art on display and many people spoke about how they became involved in the project and what their participation had meant to them. While most of the pieces had the name of the maker attached, there were five sets that had been made by a group of Nyoongar women who did not wish individual bits to be attributed to any one person. Apparently these pieces will be joined together and flow over the finished panels in the form of the Wagyl (Dreamtime Rainbow Serpent). This is one of the sets.

I took along my challenge hat and gave it to Iris for the display during Artopia.

This is the "Before" picture.

This is the "After"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dyeing Efforts

On Sunday, while at the DW retreat in Dwellingup, we did some dyeing with Procion MX dyes that had been left over from a workshop the group did with Dijanne Cevaal some 4 years ago. We hoped they would still be useable and they were.

I didn't get a chance to do much for myself since I was sort of looking after the logistics of it all, but I did manage to put dye and fabric in 3 bags. This is the final result. From the top: red and blue, yellow and black and yellow and red.

I was aiming to produce some scrim I could use in embellishing and so I took a variety of loosely woven cotton fabrics and some thick cotton knit. I am mostly happy with the results.

This fabric may not be pure cotton. It didn't work very well in the first bag which was blue and red, but on the other hand, there may just have been too much fabric for the dye in that bag, because I used it again in the yellow and orange bag and it worked very well.

I want a piece of scrim in pinks, blues and lavenders for another project I have in mind so I think I will just paint it over.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Another one bites the dust

I have just finished my challenge for this month's sewing club. It took me most of the afternoon. I went to aquarobics and then did some shopping so that took care of the morning.

This is what I made: a little fabric tray to hold bits and pieces.

I also drew some buttons in bleach on a black fabric and used that for the base.

Tomorrow night is the viewing of all the pieces that were made for the Melville Textile Art Project. I am not sure how many there are, but it should be an amazing sight. They are filming it, so there should be enough light for a few photos.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Another Challenge

At Husqvarna Sewing Club last month Pam gave us all a square of fabric and issued a challenge to use it to make something. This is the fabric.

You are allowed to add some more fabric (up to 4 pieces the same size) plus stiffening, wadding, lace or whatever. Size is restricted to a piece that will fit in a bag 25cm x 30 cm.
I decided to do some playing with my software and made a couple of designs the following week. Today I stitched out the designs I had digitised.

Tomorrow I need to turn them into something. I want to go to aquarobics, so I will go to Club on Wednesday.