Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pojagi and Beyond

This exhibition is showing for the very last time at Moora, a small town about 3 hours north of Perth. It has travelled all around Australia and, I think, New Zealand. The exhibition was the result of a masterclass with Chungie Lee, a Korean artist, and features the work of at least two Western Australians.

WAFTA organised a bus trip to travel there today. Wendy Lugg, who is the curator, was to give a floor talk. I had said I would go - but things happened and I couldn't. I hope everyone had a great time. Maybe I can make the trip while school holidays are on - I think my sister needs a textile fix.

On the other hand, Mundaring is a lot closer. The FeltWest exhibition opens there tonight. I WILL make it there before it closes.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Walking Update

I haven't reported on my efforts for some time.

A week ago today I achieved my best ever result : 12148 steps. Since then I have not exceeded 9000 steps on any one day, though no day has been under 7000. Most have been 8000 plus.

I will beat 10000 today. At the moment the pedometer reads 9939.

The staff at the ABC here in Perth have undertaken a walking challenge for a few weeks until some time in April. I gather, when I listen to the radio, that the stars of the challenge are one of the reporters and the breakfast announcer Eoin Cameron. They are tallying total steps, not daily totals. Maybe I need to do some addition. It could look good?

You can check out the ABC challenge here.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Excuses, excuses

It is all to easy to find reasons not to do things, fibre related or not.

A fortnight ago Kevin and I decided to take up an offer of a month's membership of an upmarket health club just down the hill. We paid up, then did nothing about using the facilities. I had thought I would try the water aerobics classes on Tuesday and Thursday, but I had a meeting last Tuesday, and was given free tickets to the movies on Thursday. There was no reason why I couldn't have just gone down there, had a swim, sauna etc, but I didn't.

As I have recounted in previous posts, I decided to enter a quilt in this year's QuiltWest exhibition. I put its construction off time and again.

I am teaching some workshops later this year and I need to make new class samples. I have either sold previous ones or they have been well used and look decidedly tatty.

So, I am making a belated New Year's resolution. Why not? It's only a quarter of the way through the year. I am going to whip procrastination! There, I have made a public declaration.

And I have made a start. I have done 2 water aerobics classes this week. I have sent off my entries to QuiltWest and my quilt is ready to freemotion stitch. And today I made a start on my class samples.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Tomorrow is Computer Club so I decided I needed to do my homework. At the last Club day Pam demonstrated how to use the QuickFonts facility in the 3D software to make embroidery designs. You need to download wingding type fonts first and put them in the font folder, then QuickFonts can access them and in place of a letter you get a little design.

I was all enthused and came home, searched for, downloaded and installed about eight different free pictorial fonts. I even printed them out so I had a reference. I played with a few of them and made some designs, none of which I stitched out. Then I did nothing with the technique for the next seven weeks.

Today I played with a font called Easter Art. The letter g is an outlined Easter egg. I copied it four times, adjusted the way each egg sloped a little bit and combined the designs into one. The original version I made has four different colours, one for each egg, but I used a multi coloured thread and stitched it out twice without colour stops on a cheap teatowel ($5.99 for 6 at IGA).

I am not completely satisfied with the result, for a number of reasons. I should not have prewashed the towel because that made it fluffy and the stitching sinks into the fabric. I should have used a water soluble stabiliser rather than a tearaway - there is so much small detail that it is almost impossible to get rid of all the paper on the back. I should have taken a bit more time and looked at the stitchout in the editing page. There are unnecessary jump stitches that could have been eliminated and the starting stitches could do with a tidy up.

However, I have learned a useful technique. Plus, I can feel smug at tomorrow's show and tell because I did my homework.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Quilt Progress

I didn't manage anything textile over the weekend so I didn't post.

Today I finished fusing the applique pieces to the quilt I am making for QuiltWest in May. It is sufficiently together now for a photograph to show the colours of the top. This is a requirement for entry.

The quilt itself is a long way from finished. First I have to machine embroider the appliques. I estimate about 10 or 12 hours for that. Then I have to sandwich and quilt (probably another 6 to 8 hours) and put on the binding and hanging pocket (maybe 3 hours). So if I did nothing else for a day I could get it finished . . . right? I think I will just take it slowly and try not to have a panicked effort the day it is due.

I am going to enter a couple of bags in the special section they have this year. They will have to be ones I have already made because a photograph of these is needed as well. Tomorrow I will take and print the photos and send off my entry.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I love traditional and antique lace and I have a small collection of it. One day I am going to use some of it to make a collaged textile piece.
I was very happy to get this book in the mail today. There are lots of pictures of lace and as I also enjoy making freeform lace on water soluble I expect this will be a great source of inspiration.

However, I am not interested in using my computerised embroidery machine to stitch out lace designs that someone has digitised. I can admire the results when I see what someone else has done, but the process does not appeal.

One of the ladies at sewing club on Wednesday showed off a lace table centre she had made. It had 16 different lace squares all joined together. Someone asked her how long it took and she said she didn't really know, but one of the squares had taken 81 minutes to stitch out. 81 minutes times 16! I know you can do other things while the machine stitches away, but you really need to be fairly close by in case something fouls up. I cannot imagine spending that much time listening to a stitch out. It was a lovely piece of work though.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Life Cycle

I have written about this bush and its flower before.
On our walk yesterday we spotted several of the "finger" stage of the blossom.
The tassels will come soon.

There were still quite a few seedpods, but most of them had burst and were black and empty.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Boring bits today . . .

but necessary tasks. Iris and I spent a couple of hours going through the proposed changes to the law governing incorporated associations in Western Australia. The group we belong to is incorporated so we needed to become familiar with what is proposed so that we can prepare for changes that we may have to make in our constitution. We think that the only change that will affect us is the necessity to appoint a public officer to be the contact person person between Consumer Affairs and the group. Apparently WA is the only State or Territory in Australia not to have this requirement. We will report to the group at the next meeting. The Bill will not be introduced in Parliament until late this year so it will be 2008 or later before we have to look at our constitution again. Iris and I did a revision in 2005, so I can't say either of us is looking forward to tackling it again.

Then I collected the last bits of paper for my appointment with the tax accountant tomorrow, read my mail and sent off a swag of emails.

We did quite a long walk this morning so, even though I spent a lot of time sitting, I have racked up 9939 steps as of this minute. Should easily crack the 10000 today.

Monday, March 19, 2007

New Book

The new needle felting book by Valerie Campbell-Harding and Maggie Grey arrived late this afternoon. I haven't had time to even open it. A treat to look forward to.

I am also eagerly awaiting Dale's book. One can never have too much inspiration - even people who just fiddle.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Some progress

I have finished the black and white convergence style top that will be the base for my WAQA quilt. No photos as yet - I am not sure whether an entry is permitted to be published before exhibition, so I am playing safe.

Today I put the borders on, then used basting spray to attach some tearaway stabiliser to the back in preparation for the applique. I will complete the applique before I sandwich and quilt, because I expect the back to be rather messy.

I haven't reported on the walking for a while. Last week wasn't all that good - I didn't manage 10,000 steps on any day, though I did not have one day under 8000. Yesterday I did 10901 but today won't be so good. I wish the pedometer could measure effort as well as the steps. Today's walk was quite short, only about one and a half kilometres, but it was up and down hills and at a good pace, so I really felt I had worked at it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Make 5, Take 5 ATCs

I have had a day without fibre (unless you count doing the washing), but I thought I would share these ATCs. This was the Make 5, Take 5 swap that Dale organised for the Melbourne quilting convention at the end of February.

They arrived on Thursday, and I was really chuffed to get two from people whose names I recognise. Thank you, FaeryDi and June Brown. These are the two at the top of the photo. Di has used her embellisher to great effect, and I especially like June's machined bullion knots.

I got 2 from an artist in NSW. She has used very different techniques for each card. The dragonfly and the reverse applique leaf are hers. The last one is from a girl in Northampton, WA. Hers is wonderfully 3 dimensional and I will be emailing to ask for a "how-to".

Thank you, Dale, for organising this

Friday, March 16, 2007

Sculpture by the Sea

I didn't manage to get a posting done yesterday either.

Today's big thing was our visit to the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition at Cottesloe. We thought we would combine it with our morning walk. We had an enjoyable time and took lots of pictures. Some of them are on the other blog , but here are three that particularly caught my eye because they were in some way linked to fibre.

The dove is made from plastic industrial strapping.

This one is made from weathered wicker craypots. The little circle on top is actually another sculpture on the end of the groyne.

The towel is a metal sheet of some kind, but still looks like a towel.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

ATCs for Cancer

I have finally done it. The two series I committed myself to were posted this afternoon.

In this swap you had to make a series of 6 ATCs. You kept the first one and sent the other five, along with a $2 donation, to be swapped. I found working in such a large series quite difficult. I have made series before, but usually only of 3 or 4.

I admit to fudging the first series. They are all made by embellishing bits and pieces onto felt, but I used different bits and pieces on two pieces of felt. However the method is the same, so I can justify calling it a series.

With the second series I hope I have finally worked out my craving to combine red and gold. When I looked at the base fabric I saw water ripples, so I added little squares made from scraps to represent leaves falling on to the waters of the Emperor's pond. Which Emperor? I don't know. Japanese? Chinese?

We went to the movies this afternoon and saw "Wild Hogs". Very formulaic, but quite funny. If you go, wait till all the credits have rolled at the end - it's probably the funniest bit of the lot.

Monday, March 12, 2007

An impending task

I had planned to finish the ATCs I am contributing to a cancer fundraiser today. I have to send them off before the middle of the week. However, one thing led to another and I spent almost the entire day on the computer. I scanned some images from a book I borrowed from the DW Group library to add to my inspirations file, caught up with almost all my email lists, investigated some very interesting textile sites, paid some bills and that was it. Oh, and downloaded a 51 page pdf document with the present WA legislation on Incorporated Associations.

The WA government is intending to change the law to bring it more in line with similar legislation in other States of Australia and is inviting comment from incorporated associations. Designing Women (DW Group) is one of these and I think we should at least look at the proposed changes. Also, as far as I know, we don't have a copy of the present Act. I know I have never read it through completely, despite having worked on a constitutional amendment last year. So we really need to look at how we are doing under the present law and how this may change.

There is a sub-committee of two appointed to the task. Iris was volunteered. She is an organised and meticulous person and we work well together. I just need to print the material and get it to her, then we can meet sometime later and decide what we need to do.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Nappy liners

One of the Designing Women group achieved a major coup last week. Loraine was shopping in a small local supermarket when she spied six or so packets of 100 Black and Gold nappy liners in the "Reduced to Clear" trolley. Though she couldn't remember offhand exactly why they are desirable objects for textile artists she grabbed a packet and rang me when she got home. I went there the next morning and there were still 3 packets left so I bought them for the princely sum of $1.99 each.

When I offered them to the group on Saturday there was an immediate fight for possession, so each packet had to be shared between two or more. I let them work it out - I bought a packet of 100 a few years back and I probably still have about 75 left. Should last me a while.

So why are nappy liners a desirable addition to one's stash? Especially Black and Gold brand?

First - they can be painted, stamped, rubbed with Shiva sticks and other mediums then ironed on to fabric or paper with a very hot iron (or zapped with a heat gun). The heat adheres the liner to the base and also causes parts of the liner to disintegrate with very interesting textural results.

Second - they are no longer made. Disposable nappies have won out in the battle to cover babies' bums. Their name reflects their use - I remember washing the ones that just got wet and flushing others when my children wore nappies back in the 70s of the last century.

Third - the white cheaper ones (Black and Gold) work for heat distortion. The upmarket blue ones don't.

There are substitutes. Dale sells Zap Cloth which apparently does the same thing. I bought some to try but haven't used it yet. I have promised myself that I will get painting and zapping soon.

And obviously one needs to look in every clearance bin. Well done, Loraine.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Box Challenge

Designing Women is the Textile Art group of which I am president and today was the monthly meeting. The committee had decided to set a challenge for the members. A list of things to bring was sent out in the newsletter. It was deliberately vague but no-one seemed to mind that. Committee members brought along examples of boxes they had made, plus books and magazines with patterns and instructions for making a wide variety of boxes. The display was great, but as usual I had forgotten the camera and didn't think to use the camera in my mobile. The challenge was received enthusiastically and some lovely embroidered and embellished fabrics were started. We expect to see some great boxes in May when the challenge results are due.

Before I went out to the International Women's Day outing I mentioned on Thursday I spent a couple of hours making a folded "Treasure Box". The pattern is from Quilting Arts #20 and is very quick and easy. I enlarged the pattern 200% and added an extra buttonhole.

I used the embellisher to felt dyed merino fibres on to a cream felt.

I ironed some interfacing onto pink silk recycled from a blouse, then made a sandwich and stitched it with a metallic thread on top and a rayon variegated thread on the bottom.

I think it turned out very well.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

International Women's Day

Tomorrow I am going to meet with a group of former teacher colleagues to celebrate International Women's Day. It is organised by a teacher at the school from which I retired 6 years ago and has become a tradition.

I have attended all but one of these gatherings since 1991 and I really enjoy the afternoon. There is social interaction between those who have left the teaching work force and those who are still in the fray. There is always an interesting female guest speaker. We talk and eat and drink and talk and I suspect I will not be making a blog entry tomorrow.

We are always given a knot of purple white and green ribbon. These are the colours of the WSPU (the suffragette organisation Women's Social and Political Union) formed by Emmeline Pankhurst in the early 20th century. They won their battle.

I think women in many countries are a long way from achieving theirs. My group of friends and I are not extreme feminists, but we will wear the purple white and green ribbon, celebrate the fact that 35 years ago female teachers in WA achieved equal pay and remind ourselves that the battle for female equality continues across the world.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A hot one

We managed quite a long walk this morning, though the sun was fierce and it was already shaping up to the record temperature for March that was recorded this afternoon - 42.7 I think. The weather bureau man said the previous record was in 1990, but I can't remember that at all.

I had long service leave that year so was not at school. Hot days are even hotter in a cooking room that faces west and gets full afternoon sun thanks to a Scandinavian building design that was cutting edge in the 1950s when the school was built. Major bureaucratic stupidity - you need all the light you can get in Norway, but in WA? And of course there is no airconditioning.

We have been quite comfortable today in our air conditioned house. Both of us went out for brief periods in air conditioned cars, braving the furnace blast between parking and air conditioned shops. I am sure that power usage today will also be a record. I am also a little guilty that we ourselves have been responsible for contributing to the greenhouse gas problem.

I spent most of today selecting fabrics, mostly hand dyes but also some plains, cutting out pieces and ironing them to vliesofix. I used 3 metres of vliesofix and think I probably now have sufficient choice for the applique. Here is some of the fabric spread out on my ironing board.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Started a quilt today

I stitched and cut and cut and stitched today and have now finished the central piece of the quilt I intend to enter in the QuiltWest exhibition in May. Pretty typical effort for me - entries close on the 31st of the month and they have to be accompanied by a photograph of the quilt. Not necessarily finished, but sufficiently constructed to give an overall impression and an indication of the colours used. Oh, and the size has to be supplied as well.

Tomorrow I intend to vliesofix a heap of fabrics to use in the applique before I decide on the border for the central piece. I am leaning towards black, but it might look better with colour.

I am feeling guilty about not writing in the blog, but we had visitors for a long barbecue lunch on Sunday and yesterday we went to Helen's to try and fix her computer. She gave us a yummy late afternoon snack of oysters: some Kilpatrick and the the others natural, but with a very delicate Thai-style sauce. Went very well with a bottle of bubbly. I have been keeping up the walking and now have a four-day run of steps over 10,000. Today might break the run though.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Another tassel and an audition

Once you start looking you see tassels everywhere. These are some we saw today.

I have an idea for an applique quilt that I think needs a busy background. I have been meaning to have a go at a Ricky Tims' Convergence quilt, so today I got out some of my black and white fabrics. I settled on these and set out to cut the required squares. Then I remembered the rotary cutter needed a new blade - and there is a LOT of cutting with this technique. More delay, since I couldn't just go buy the blade - I had to have a little gossip as well. I hope to do something with this tomorrow.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Where does the day go?

It was raining when we got up this morning - hooray! and we had a few showers during the day. So we didn't go for our morning walk.

Plans to do so this evening were put on hold when we became involved in the search for an elderly friend who absconded from his respite care. Kevin went looking - I stayed home by the phone to relay messages to his mobile. All ended well - John had managed to catch a bus to Perth and was befriended by a lady who noticed his confusion and managed to get personal details and phone his wife.

As I was waiting for things to happen I reviewed my day. Very little accomplished. I am involved in an internet meeting and I spent a couple of hours reading and writing emails. Then I went shopping for groceries - boring! I came home and read and wrote more emails. I pulled out a few fabrics for possible use in a challenge quilt. I made preparations for dinner - we finally ate at about 10pm.

And now it is after 11 and I still don't know where the day has gone. But somehow I have managed 7256 steps.