Monday, April 30, 2007


Kevin and I sat down and watched the Talking Heads program on ABC tonight. The guest was Stephanie Alexander, for whom I have great admiration. When she brought out the second edition of The Cook's Companion I passed the old one on to Helen, so I could justify buying the new. It is my basic reference book for ingredients and cooking techniques.

An interesting aspect of the program was the amount of home movie footage that the producers were able to draw upon. Stephanie has documented in film, photographs or on paper a major part of her life.

If we were in the same situation we could produce very little. We have hundreds? thousands? of photos, though, and Kevin said tonight that it is time we put some effort into organising them.

The program made me think about recording/documenting the textile work I have done and the exhibitions I have been in. At the Ozquilt Network conference in Canberra last year Alison Muir made a presentation that covered the importance of documenting one's work. I was most impressed and decided that I should follow her guidelines. Six months later I have done nothing to implement them.

Tonight I made a quick list. Since 2001 I have had work in 17 different exhibitions. That's amazing! I have sent pieces on consignment to 3 different places. I still have work at one of them, but my record keeping is so erratic that I have no idea what has sold and what is still there. The venue is in the country so I think I need to make a trip there to check it out. I have done at least 9 workshops for which I have been paid. I have records (class notes or samples) for only 6 of these.

Stephanie would be horrified. So would Alison.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Art Exhibition Opening

My friend Sheila and I each own a painting by a local artist - Lise Roget. Lise was to be in a group exhibition at The Old Bakery on 8th in Mayland, so I asked Sheila if she would like to go to the opening. She would, so we did.

We arrived a little early so we could look at the exhibition in peace. Just as the wines were being poured and the hot nibbles offered, the sky opened. Fabulous rain, but since the gallery has a tin roof, deafening. No chance of any speaker being heard. Then, like a tap being turned off, the rain stopped, the skies cleared to a bright blue and we were escorted to the rear courtyard for the opening by Carl Altman.

Carl timed his speech beautifully. The clouds were rolling back, and there were anxious glances at the sky, but there was not even a spit until Carl had finished. Then there was a rush to get back inside and it poured again.

It was the first exhibition opening Sheila had ever attended. It was the most dramatic one I ever have. We both enjoyed it, but we didn't buy anything.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


A few days ago I said I was addicted to books. Now I must admit that I am also addicted to magazines.

Not the Women's Day or New Idea kind (my hairdresser has them and I confess to indulging when I visit), nor the House and Garden type (my doctor has them plus the more upmarket versions and I am quite happy to dally with them when he is late, as he usually is), nor news magazines like Time (that is what I read at the Bloodbank). My magazine addiction is textile magazines.

I have a few subscriptions. I have been subscribing to the American Threads magazine since 1990. My subscription runs out in September and I am tossing up whether to continue with it - I have not been overly impressed with the last few issues.

I love Textile Fibre Forum and happily send off my subs every couple of years. This is definitely the best Australian textile magazine.

I used to buy several Australian quilting magazines, but now only buy Down Under Quilts from the newsagent.

I have all but one issue of the Australian Textile Art and Machine Embroidery, though I have only been a subscriber for a couple of years, but I think it is time I stopped buying this and won't renew my subscription. It comes in the mail, I flip through it and rarely find anything that engages my attention. Pity - the earliest issues were cutting edge.

I also occasionally buy Stitch, an English embroidery magazine, from the newsagent if a flip through reveals some interesting subject matter as it usually does.

The magazines that involve me at the moment are Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors. CPS #12 arrived yesterday and I will need to spend days poring over it. I have pages and pages of notebook ideas derived from various issues of the two magazines. Maybe one day the ideas will transmute into actual pieces.

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Bit of Everything

If I could manage every day the things I have done and enjoyed today I would be invincible!

Let me list them:
1. We went for our walk. Manning Park today. We took some chicken bones for the maggies, but they had obviously been fed earlier and did not appear. So we filled the bag with litter and dumped it in a bin.

2. As we were preparing breakfast the birds appeared on our back lawn. First a mudlark, then a couple of crows. The crows terrorise the maggies, but the mudlark was unperturbed. After a bit of a feed the crows left and the maggies came. They are definitely tamer than they were.

3. I spent 45 minutes at the sewing machine and made quite a bit of progress on the quilt. I hope I will finish the quilting this weekend.

4. I went to the Craft Fair at Claremont Showgrounds. Not the best one I have been to, but I bought some yummy pickles from vendors I have bought from before, and a couple of antique items for future birthday presents. I'm not telling what or for whom!

5. I went shopping in Fremantle and bought some much needed underwear in a size smaller than usual.

6. Dinner was the chicken soup I made on Wednesday - the source of the chicken bones mentioned above. I think it is improving with age.

7. I am participating in an email meeting so I read my mail and responded appropriately.

8. I have recorded 10307 steps on the pedometer.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Quilt Progress and another bag started

Time ran away with me yesterday. I got the quilt sandwiched and about a fifth of the quilting done, then I realised that it was sewing night for the friendship group I belong to.

Panic stations. I needed some hand work and I didn't have any. Then I remembered that I had a collection of yoyos that I had been making with hand dyed silk recycled from a blouse. A quick search unearthed a bag pattern I have often used before, I found some black velvet and ironed interfacing to the back and I was ready to go. I spent the evening arranging the bits I had and pinning them into place.

I think I need a couple more large yoyos and a few more leaves. I will bead the ones that do not have centres. This could keep me going for a few more meetings.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A new book

I am definitely addicted to books. Today I bought a book purely on its appearance.

I was in Big W looking to see if they had a new range of yarn - they have, and I bought some yummy pure wool ones to knit and felt. There are some great colour combinations, and a surprising number of them are 100% wool.

The handcraft section is next to the book section so I had to have a look there as well, and look at what I found. The colour photography is fabulous and I can see lots of the photographs translated into embroidery and embellished fabrics. And it cost less than $20.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Progress: Quilt - Yes, Fitness - No

I finished all the freemotion machine embroidery today and removed the stabiliser. The quilt is now ready for sandwiching. I will do this tomorrow and maybe start the quilting. The deadline of May 18 seems very achievable.

Not so my fitness goals. I woke up late and decided that I would go to water aerobics instead of for a walk, but I started reading the paper and then it was too late to go. OK, maybe a walk in the afternoon. But Helen rang, asking to use our printer since her own is playing up, so I invited her to dinner. No time for a walk, and the pedometer has its lowest reading ever.

However, tomorrow is another day, and since I am ahead on the quilt I will put effort into physical activity.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

ATCs for Cancer (3)

I thought I would show off the cards I received in the ATCs for Cancer swap. I showed Kathryn's the other day, but here are all of them.
These are from Mandy in NSW, Sasha in Colorado, Jenni in WA, Sandra in ?QLD, Sally in NSW and Kathryn.

This lot is from Helen , Patrise and Robin in NSW and Andrea in the ACT. All together they demonstrate a wonderful range of ideas and techniques. Thank you everyone.

I have spent about four hours today free machining the vliesofixed flowers on my QuiltWest entry. I can see light at the end of the tunnel - only the reds, purples and one shade of blue to go. I have tried to be good and take frequent breaks for stretching and moving about, but I am still feeling achy across the shoulders.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


To buy or not to buy? I went to a demonstration of the new Husqvarna 4D software today. There are lots of "You Beaut" innovations, but since I haven't really mastered the older version I am wondering whether it would be worth it to upgrade. On the other hand, there will be no more tutorials offered in the older software.

The new 4D Sketch offers the option to use any machine stitch in freehand drawing. I am not sure whether I would use that - I have always treated the program as a way to reproduce freemotion embroidery. But then there is the Embroidery Wizard which can turn almost any clip art motif into an embroidery. The last software program I owned that did that was the software for the Poem, and the results were always a bit iffy - results from this new program look great.

This is definitely a decision to sleep on.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Blogger Problems

I had problems posting yesterday. For some reason every time I tried to publish, the post disappeared. After four tries I gave up. Then today I discovered four drafts in the draft folder. No links or photos, but the text was there and so yesterday's blog has now been published. Better late than never.

Nothing fibre related today, except a visit to Lincraft in Whitfords with my sister. She bought about 20 balls of yarn in various textures and shades of purple and lavender to make a throw rug. I bought four large wooden beads which I intend to decorate and use on bags, some wool roving to use with the embellisher and another bowl for my ATCs which were overflowing their home. So now I have 2 containers for my ATCs.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Out and about

I gave blood today. There was no repetition of the problems I had last time - I actually scored the nurse who had OK'd the October donation, then nixed the one in January. There was even a hint of apology re the red tape.

Then I ran into a problem with rebooking because my next donation is due 3 days before we fly to the US. I wanted to book in a day or so earlier but was told the computer system wouldn't allow it, so I have booked in for Friday 13th - hope it's not an omen. I would have let it slide, but you have to wait 8 weeks to donate after a trip to the US, so that would have meant another 6 months without a donation.

The rest of the day was devoted to pleasure. I had arranged to go with Margaret and Zoe to see an exhibition of textile works in Guildford, then the FeltWest exhibition in Mundaring.

We were greatly impressed by the work displayed by Pam, Diana and Lorelei at the Nature's Trilogy exhibition and rather sad that so little had been sold. I did buy one of Lorelei's cards though. After we left I remembered that I hadn't signed the visitors' book. It appears neither Margaret or Zoe did either, so our apologies, girls. We visited and we were impressed!

I thought we might lunch at Woodbridge House, but the parking area was full of poorly parked cars taking up more than their fair share of space, so we went on to Mundaring and further, to the Lavender Patch on Mundaring Weir Road for lunch. Neither Margaret or I had been there before, but Zoe is apparently a semi-regular. Nice food, especially the bread roll baked in a flower pot with just a hint of lavender added to the dough.

The FeltWest exhibition included some exquisite items. It was probably just as well that everything I really loved had been bought by someone else. I definitely don't need to melt down the credit card before July. I am not sure about copyright, so I am only including one photo. I particularly liked this piece by Jan Stroud. Distressing and deconstruction really grabs me at the moment.

On the way back we dropped into a couple of shops in Guildford. Raw has mostly African imports. There was a lot of wonderful stuff, but what most impressed me was the way the owner had colour co-ordinated the stock so as you moved around the shop you saw everything that was green gathered together, then moved on to blue etc. From there we went to Oriental Origins where the other girls homed in on the handmade papers.

I drove more than 200 kilometres today. I didn't go for a morning walk because my appointment at the Blood Bank was at 8.30 am, but as of this moment I have managed 5736 steps. I haven't done any sewing though.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

ATCs for Cancer (2)

Today I got my share of this swap back - a fabulous array of ideas and techniques. I will post photos soon.

But today I just had to share this one. It gives a fascinating insight into one artist's mind.

Kathryn, thank you very much for your fabulous card. You really addressed the topic in a meaningful and moving way.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sewing Club

The monthly Club Day at Bestway is always worthwhile. Today I gathered quite a bit of inspiration from Show and Tell.

Jo, who is a very talented digitiser, showed an embroidered table runner with a simple and extremely effective way of making the points. I will definitely borrow this idea. Pat had made table runners too - this time for a family wedding in Portugal in a month or so, but the item I liked best was a denim tote bag with embroidered ladies in a fashion drawing style. Her friend had brought along a white on white appliqued and embroidered tablecloth - I would like to do something like it in a sheer fabric. Another lady had made some felt blocks with embroidered block letters. She had used a purchased design, but I will try to replicate it using 3D fabric Decorator. Linda's bag had a very clever way of adjusting the strap length.

All the ideas are written down in the notebook I take each month. Whether I will actually do something with the ideas is usually moot, but I do have a record.

Pam demonstrated the new Husqvarna embellisher. Linda and I are in agreement that we would have bought it if it had been available two years ago, but we are quite happy with our Pierrots. I do need to play a bit more though - I keep acquiring interesting stuff to use. Dale's book is due out soon - that should provide a bit of impetus.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Two in one again

Yesterday it RAINED - almost all day, hooray. We were informed this morning that Perth got 40mm which is almost the average for April (44mm). There is more on the way - another front is due on Wednesday or Thursday. I hope this means we will have a wet winter.

The ducks at Manning Park were happy this morning - their puddle had expanded probably threefold, but is still a long way from covering the lake bed.
There were a few other puddles around the outskirts too.

I spent several hours yesterday on my quilt and have now completed embroidering all the leaves and stems. I was going to start on the flowers today, but I am too tired. I went shopping with my daughter this afternoon at Harbour Town. She had a list of things she wanted, none of which she bought, though she bought several other things.

I made two purchases: a knife block to replace the one we have had for probably 30 years, which is now looking rather grotty, and a pair of shoes to wear to the wedding in Oregon in July. The ceremony will be outdoors on grass so high heels were a no-no. These are a low wedge in metallic leather and are very comfortable.

Incidentally, Kevin has said that he is not dancing at the wedding, but wonders if they will have a wedding singer.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Community Art Project Workshop

Two of the members of Designing Women are the co-ordinators for a Community Textile Art Project funded by the City of Melville. There are over a hundred people involved and Juliet and Iris have been running consultation workshops for the last couple of months. Now it is time to move on to actually making the textile pieces which will form the finished installation.

The group offered to be the guinea pigs for the technique workshops and so today we worked with paints and transfer dyes on a range of synthetic chiffons and organzas. Some lovely pieces were produced. Mine were only so-so, especially the painted pieces, though I am thinking of using burning and fusing on a couple of pieces.

I love working with transfer dyes because the results you get are so serendipitous and the colours are so different when they have been transformed by heat. Today I was using a paper towel to clean my brush while I was painting the papers.
The towel looked so interesting that I then decided to iron it on to a piece of chiffon. I really like the result and now need to consider possible further embellishments.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Contemporary Quilt Group

There were some wonderful pieces on display today. Naturally I forgot to take the camera, and also forgot that I could use the mobile phone to take photos. Duh!

Jennie had a wonderful Moebius wrap constructed from strips of organza. She also had a knitted one in shades of green , and was knitting furiously on another in reds, oranges and purples. Zoe has been playing with her soldering iron and had some great samples plus a quilted piece that will go into the group's exhibit at QuiltWest in May. Margaret P showed me her piece from last month where she had painted tissue paper, then stitched, stamped and foiled. The result was a fabulous leather like fabric. Lorelei had a stunning bag made with a variation of Applique Perse and Margaret S has been playing with disperse dyes. One of the most interesting bits was transfer printed onto a very crinkled textured fabric. Almost everyone wanted to know where she got it. Of course - from a friend who was cleaning out her cupboards! No other known source.

Today's challenge was chenille. There were a number of small quilts that had used the basic technique, but the most interesting variation was from Lois. She had used the continuous bias binding method to make a chenille thread from a shibori dyed fabric and was now knitting it. She explained how it was done, but I didn't really follow. I think I need printed directions. She has promised to provide them next month.

I asked for advice about the red piece and got some suggestions. Because I am obviously somewhat of an innocent I had not realised how phallic the shapes in the piece are. I think I will need to take Jennie's suggestion and cut it up and reassemble it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Samples finished, quilt embellishment started

I have finished my workshop samples - hooray. Just need to take the photos, write the requirements list and send it all off to Annie.

Today I went to my Embroidery Guild group. The topic was thread painting which I have done before, but I decided my quilt top would fit into the day's activities. So I watched the demonstrations, then worked on embellishing the vliesofixed leaves on my quilt. There were a few beginners there today who were unaware of vliesofix and its uses so I had a few questions to answer.

After three hours of stitching I have completed four shades of green for leaves/stems. Since I have used 9 different fabrics for the greens I have a long way to go. Then I have to do the flowers and centres . .

I took the red piece along, hoping for some constructive criticism, but nothing helpful ensued. So tomorrow I will take it to Contemporary Quilt Group.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Accomplished something today

I feel I am getting somewhere with all the bits and pieces I am working on. Today I finished the second sample for the Catalyst workshop. Just have to finish off the beading and hand sewing on the third one and I can send off photos to Annie for publication in the workshop brochure on the website. I still have a few more ideas, but I think this will be enough for a one day workshop. It is all too easy to overload people with variations.

I then did a bit more work on an embroidery piece I started in a design workshop last month. We used a picture from a magazine and traced shapes, ignoring colour and realism. You could then play with the line drawing you had. Once you had your design you were then supposed to embroider it using a range of techniques. I have mostly used bobbin work, with some couching and satin stitch, on a piece of felt with painted vliesofix ironed on to it. I am not happy with it - it is all too much the same. While I do some ideas about what to do I would welcome any suggestions.
I also met an axe murderer. This is a Scquilters injoke and refers to another quilter you have only met on the internet before and now meet in person. Apparently years ago someone's DH was a bit concerned about such a meeting, hence the reference. Today's axe murderer and her daughter were lovely people, as axe murderers usually are. Judy comes from NSW, but her daughter lives in Bullsbrook and Judy came over for Easter. We exchanged emails when I received 2 of her ATCs in the last swap Dale organised. Judy brought the ATCs she had received in a couple of the swaps and it was interesting to see familiar names, including Maureen and Jennifer, both from Designing Women. She was going to meet another swapper later this afternoon.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


I am so tired! We didn't go for a walk today because I didn't wake up until 7.30 and I needed to get things ready for today's barbecue.

I have detailed the preparations on the other blog.

Now everyone has gone home, I am ready to collapse into bed and I have only done 3939 steps.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Easter Sunday Plans

We are having a family gathering tomorrow. I am planning a Greek style meal: meze of fresh hommus, olive and walnut dip and bread, followed by a leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic done in the barbecue, lemon potatoes and an assortment of other vegetables. Yum!

I'll need to get up very early if I am going to fit in a walk. We walked this morning and I planned to go to water aerobics, but things happened and I didn't make it. Not a real good step tally today either.

And the mystery of the missing pedometer is solved. Kevin found it today under his chair. We had a blackout the night I lost it and I obviously knocked it off my waistband when I got up to find a torch and turn off things. Now we have two, so he can start counting as well.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday lovey doveys

Every year on Good Friday there is a bike race around Bibra Lake. For some reason they are not permitted to close off the roads so the poor contestants have to deal with vehicles as well as peddling madly. By accident we witnessed it last year and today we did so again - also by accident. We had forgotten it was on.

There were many more walkers than there usually are, and heaps more cyclists on the walk path, as well as those competing in the race. I managed nearly 5000 steps because we walked quite a bit further than we usually do.

I have cut out some bits for my third workshop sample. While I was working in the studio I looked out and noticed a pair of doves in the bird bath. There is often one bird bathing but I've never seen two before.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Walking - again, and a bit of fibre

I was right - yesterday was pretty bad. I got to 7038 steps though.

Today I have done nothing in the textile area, but I am over 9300 steps, plus I have done an hour's water aerobics. Now I am wondering if all this is ever going to pay off in terms of weight loss.

I went to Fremantle this afternoon to the Art Market that is held next to St John's Church every Thursday in summer. It will finish at the end of April. I wouldn't say it was spectacular, but of the 10 or so stalls selling jewellery there were a couple that had different stuff.

Not much in the way of textiles though, though one lady was selling non-textile stuff from Mexico while stitching on a tablecloth, while another stall offered clothing made from vintage fabrics. All for size 0-2 though.

I did get one bargain. I bought a pair of walking shoes from Jim Kidd for $30, originally $150. These were offered to WestCard holders as a special - reduced price for the general public was $80. I have had a WestCard for maybe 10 years and this is the first time I have used it.

It rained this afternoon. Just a sprinkle, but I hope more is to come.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Two days today

The new pedometer has settings for km covered and kcals used up as well as the standard step counter, which can register up to 999,999 steps. Would take me a while to do that much!

I have decided that I will continue with just the daily step count and not bother with the other bits. Yesterday I did 10170 steps, as well as doing an hour of water aerobics. Very pleased with myself. Helen came to tea and we had a rolled turkey roast cooked in the barbecue with potatoes and pumpkin and a delicious warm salad of cauliflower and green beans. I adapted that from Margaret Johnson's "Recipe of the Day" in The West Australian. She has lots of good recipes and I have collected a bundle of clippings.

Early today, just after sunrise, we went for a walk at Woodman's Point. This is a strenuous walk because of the loose sand, but we had a bonus. There was a dolphin and her baby swimming just offshore - less than 3 metres away. They were plunging in and out of the weed bank - each time they came to the surface their fins were festooned with loose weed. It was a lovely sight and we watched for 5 minutes or so.

When we got home I went straight to the sewing room. I completed one workshop sample and made a good start on another. This needs hand stitching, so it may take me a while to finish it. The third sample has colours and fabric selected. I plan to cut and stitch tomorrow after I have been to water aerobics.

Because of the time I spent at the sewing machine I haven't managed a terribly good step tally. I think I'll be lucky to reach 7000.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Happy Birthday

I turned 65 today - retirement age. Too bad I retired 6 years ago! I don't think I would have reached this birthday if I hadn't.

Yesterday morning we went for a really long walk and I was hoping to record a high number of steps for the day. However, I couldn't find the pedometer when I got up this morning. Both of us searched everywhere. No sign of it. We went walking and I felt strangely naked without it.

When we got home I decided to buy another one. I was surprised at how many places sell them and at the range of prices - $2.99 to $49. I decided to buy a mid range one for $14.95 from Jim Kidd Sports Store. Because we were planning to go to my sister's in Hillarys for tea I rang the Carine store and asked them to put one aside for collection.

We got to Carine about 4.45 pm. This has got to be the worst shopping centre carpark in the world, or at least in WA. Spaces were at a premium plus the spaces are really narrow and the traffic was really intense. No-one was going to stop to allow you to back out and straighten up. After a circuit, Kevin dropped me off and went looking for a park.

Ten minutes later there were spaces galore. We obviously got there at the wrong time. Anyway, I have my new pedometer and tomorrow I will start counting again. Last week I had two days over 10000, and no days with less than 8000.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Melville Sculpture Walk

Today we went further afield for our walk. We went to Piney Lakes Reserve in the suburb of Winthrop to visit the 2007 Melville Sculpture Walk. Today was the last day.

There is a permanent sculpture walk which goes through the bush behind the Piney Lakes Environmental Education Centre. The Walk we visited today is a temporary exhibition held every year and was set up on a part of the Reserve I have never visited before. It is very attractive. There is a small lake, obviously fed by a bore, with a fountain and a gazebo and the sculptures were scattered about.

There were two sculptures actually in the lake, including this one of turtles. Turtles are indigenous to the chain of wetlands that this lake was originally part of. North Lake and Bibra Lake are their main habitats now.

While most of the sculptors used traditional materials: wood, metal and stone, there were some that used fibre.

Trudi Pollard and her daughter Helena had wrapped tree trunks in silk dyed with natural dyes and netting stitched from strips of the silk that resembled the marks that insects make in bark. The loose wrappings moved in the breeze like leaves. At the base of each tree were a couple of baskets made from natural materials and filled with leaves and nuts that suggested the baskets used by aboriginal women for collecting food. Piney Lakes was once an important gathering and ritual place for tribal women.

I did enjoy looking at the sculptures. We also walked a lot - 5000 steps on my pedometer.