Thursday, May 31, 2007

More Weaving

One of the workshops I had printed off and noted as a "must do" yesterday was one by Maggie Grey on weaving with a small wooden loom.

Today I asked Kevin to make me one and he did. This is the second one he made - the first was a bit small. It looks like it will do the job beautifully.

This loom is intended for weaving in two dimensions. The little bags I taught at last week's workshop are actually three dimensional and can be woven on a piece of cardboard - they don't need a special loom. But I want to try weaving in a circle and I decided that a wooden loom would be more stable than cardboard.

Thanks, Kev. And something else good - I went to water aerobics this morning.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Day on the Computer

I have been playing all day.

I got an email to say that the June edition of Workshop on the Web will be up on Friday morning our time. This reminded me that I had not printed the workshops that interested me from the March edition, so I did that and filed them. Flipping through the folder I noticed there were some editions where I had not printed much off, so I went and had a look at them and ended up printing a lot more. Also discovered a couple of printouts of quite old workshops that I will have to do SOON.

Kevin has agreed to make me a wooden loom like one that was used in one of the December 2006 workshops. Pity that I had forgotten about that - it could have been an interesting adjunct to my workshop last week. Speaking of workshops, it looks like the one for Catalyst is not going to happen. Not enough enrolments. Bummer.

Then I opened my new 4D software and did some of the starting exercises. I must say that these are much better than in previous versions - they actually tell you what a particular selection does. Before, you just did it. I think it will help me understand the processes and extend them beyond the bare basics, which is as far as I have managed to go in the past. I will still need Pam's workshops though! There is one in a fortnight - I plan to have worked through all the exercises by then.

I am feeling really guilty about the lack of exercise. I was going to go to water aerobics but didn't, and we didn't even go for a walk.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sew there

Helen stayed the night - she had a PD day at Beaconsfield (South Fremantle) and we are much closer for a 8.15am start. I tried out a new recipe for fish pie with scallops and prawns as well as fish. It was yummy (we used red emperor) but the suggested cooking time and temperature was wrong. It needed to be cooked for longer at a lower temperature. I will definitely make it again.

I went off to water aerobics with my already packed bag, started to change and discovered that I had only half of my bathers. So I had to get dressed again, come home and look for the pants section. It has been over two weeks since I last wore them - swimming was banned for 2 weeks after the thumb operation - so I had quite a few places to look. Eventually found it in the ironing basket. This says a lot about my priorities doesn't it?

So I took up Helen's new trousers, altered some undies for Kev and made a new pair of trousers for me. They have been cut out for a while, so I increased the seam allowances. They are a bit roomy still, but an elastic waistband will help. Only managed 6000 steps because we didn't walk since I had planned to go to the water session.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cleanup in the studio

After a very busy couple of weeks where I was finishing off a quilt and preparing samples for a workshop the studio (aka sewing room ) looked like a bomb had hit it. So I decided to spend an hour or so today to tidy up.

An hour or so? About six hours later I hauled a large bag of rubbish out to the bin.

I have organised thick threads onto cards and into labelled boxes. There is a box that now contains nothing but special threads like solar reactive and Decor. All the beads are in the same place. I was horrified to discover that I have enough red beads to make about 20 necklaces - I am sure I only intended to make one.

But the table is still a mess, and the stuff that I have moved into the laundry now needs tidying too.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


I had white glove duty today so I took my camera and walked around afterwards taking photos of the quilts I really liked. Only one of them was a traditional design - Liz Lewis' version of "Dear Jane".

My photo skills are appalling. None of the shots I took of the Contemporary Quilt Group display turned out and all of the photos are too dark. Thank goodness for PhotoShop!

I really liked this quilt by my friend Jenny.

And this one by Lois Ives.

Ruth de Vos won Best of Show for this fabulous graphic piece. It was great that for once the winner was not a traditional applique, though I think maybe some of the purists were less happy.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


The workshop today went very well. The teachers could see how readily the technique could be used in the classroom situation and they really enjoyed their hands on experience.

Some of them were so engrossed they didn't want to stop for morning tea. And when lunch came (it was catered for and really yummy) they didn't want to stop for that either.

Everyone finished at least one piece and quite a few of them started a second one. Colour choices were very interesting too - purple, pink and red were most in demand, followed by blues and creams. Hardly anyone used green.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Battle of the Blogs

I started it when I began this blog on January 2 this year. Kevin thought it was a good idea and so I set up another one for family matters 3 weeks later.

His idea was that we should take it in turns to write the family blog, but I tired of that quite rapidly, and I now only contribute when I really have something to say. He is blogging very regularly now and the difference in number of postings is closing rapidly.

I am an Aries, therefore competitive by nature, and I have been determined to keep this blog ahead in the number of postings. Why? Because I started first!

Today I decided that this was stupid. This blog is ahead by 6 postings - who cares?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Craft Fair

I spent most of the day at the Fair yesterday, but still haven't seen all the quilts or taken any photographs. I think I saw almost everyone I know though!

I spent the morning at the Embroidery Guild stand demonstrating machine embroidery. I took along a piece I had started about two years ago. It is a texture piece - bits of fabrics attached and then pushed with a satay stick to make folds and ruchings as you free motion stitch. I got a lot done; in fact I ran out of fabric bits. I will post a picture next week. Bernice asked me to leave it at the stand because the colours were eyecatching: reds, oranges, golds and coppers.

In the afternoon I did a couple of workshops and walked the aisles of the stalls. I didn't buy much. Just some precut freezer paper sheets and a pompom maker - couldn't resist that. And Dale's book.

I got so tired that I rang Kevin for an early pick up and didn't start on the quilt exhibition. I now plan to do that on Sunday while I have white glove duty, then go back and take photos of the quilts I really like. No shopping on Sunday!

Last night my friendship group came here for the evening. Only four of us - two were sick, one was in New Zealand and two had unavoidable engagements. We still had a very pleasant evening. I had had to be quick at getting things ready for them though, since we didn't get home till after 5.

No fibre today except a few rounds of the next to last weaving sample. We have visitors tomorrow afternoon so I will have to get it all finished in the morning. The workshop is on Saturday. I did get the workshop notes photocopied so that's all ready.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Contemporary Quilts

Five of us set up the display at the Convention Centre today. We were finished in just over an hour and a half. It is certainly much easier when an arrangement has been done beforehand and all we had to do after pinning them in place was to tweak the positioning a little.

Afterwards we wandered around looking at the main WAQA display. There are some really fabulous art quilts. I am anticipating a really good look tomorrow after I have finished my stint at the Embroidery Guild machine embroidery stand. I am also planning a wander around the stalls.

After I got home I went into Fremantle to print some temporary brochures for Ozquilt Network which is the Australian organisation for Art Quilters. The real brochure is being printed in Sydney and won't arrive here until Thursday at the earliest, so these are stopgaps.

Memo to self: don't forget camera and spare batteries tomorrow.

Monday, May 21, 2007


We encountered another one on our walk this morning, discarded on the side of the path.

Americans call them pacifiers (to stop that yelling) but I think dummy (suck on a fake tit) is more realistic.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weaving bags

I had forgotten how addictive this weaving is. Over, under, over, under - just let me finish this row, or length of yarn, or piece. . .

Today I finished the recycled plastic bag piece and attached a cord handle. It's not wonderful, but it might appeal to a teenager interested in doing her bit to save the planet. I am sure if I were still a schoolteacher I could use it for as motivation. One of the best things about teaching is how students can take a fairly pedestrian idea and make something more of it. I'm sure the teachers I am teaching on Saturday will see all sorts of possibilities.

I am well on the way to completing a third sample. This will be a bag with a flap. Then I will concentrate on some stage samples to use in the actual workshop. I also need to find and modify the workshop notes I used before.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

One down - at least two to go

I finished my first sample for next Saturday's workshop today, and started on another. The second one is made with strips cut from heavy plastic shopping bags and is proving to be a pain in the neck because the strips insist on twisting as I weave them. I will finish this one completely too, and then make another one or two to different stages as teaching points.

I was searching in my cupboards today for something and found one that I had started some time ago (when? I don't remember) that will do very well for this. I collected together a few yarns so it's ready to go.

Tomorrow I will start cutting cardboard for looms.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ready for the Quilt Show

No real fiddling with fibre stuff today.

I delivered my quilt and bags this morning to the exhibition committee, along with two quilts from my friend Jenny. The reception of quilts was really well organised and I was finished with that task in less than 10 minutes.

Then I went to pick up the Contemporary Quilt Group A3 challenge quilts. They had been laid out ready for display, arranged to best advantage and photos taken so that the people hanging them won't need to make any decisions about positioning.

I am working with the hanging crew again - I did this last year so was asked to do it again. I hope we can be as efficient this year - last year we finished in less than 3 hours. But there are a few more quilts this time and the people doing the arrangement have used the centres of the quilts for alignment rather than their tops or bottoms, so transferring that alignment to the hanging sheets will be a little more difficult. Last year we just used a strip of masking tape along the top to align them, pinned them from the back and removed the tape.

I have printed the labels and will deliver them and the quilts to Stephanie tomorrow for her to attach them. The hanging is Tuesday.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Feeling Better

I was decidedly unwell yesterday. Couldn't keep anything down and spent lots of time asleep. So there's my reason for not blogging.

I went to the surgeon today to have the wound looked at and mentioned yesterday's misery. He asked if I had taken Panadeine Forte on an empty stomach. Light bulb effect - I had. And the silliest thing about it was that I didn't need to take it. The finger hasn't hurt at all, but the hospital had advised me not to wait until I felt pain but take painkillers in advance.

My thumb looks much better today covered with a small dressing. There is a little bruising and swelling which extends across the back of the hand, but I can rotate it freely. Can't bend it, but was advised not to try too hard for a week. I am getting good at working around it - made dinner tonight. Green split pea soup with parmesan toasts. Yum!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I had minor surgery on my left thumb today. I have had a cyst on the top joint which has damaged the nail bed so the nail is deformed and doesn't grow properly.

It didn't take long at all. We arrived at the hospital at 7.15 and Kevin picked me up again at 12. The worst thing was all the sitting around and waiting - and having to fast. I really enjoyed the glass of water afterward, and also the sandwiches. They gave me some pain killers, but I haven't needed them as yet. I think the local hasn't worn off yet since I have no feeling in the thumb.

It doesn't look the best and I am glad I finished all the labels etc yesterday. I did a bit on one of the samples for the Home Ec workshop while I was waiting and I think I will manage to finish them, but any fiddly work is out for a few days I think.

Here's the thumb as it looked before.

And how it looks now.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Melville Community Textile Art project

I went and helped Juliet and Iris with this today. They were printing images on fabric with the computer and needed people to help the participants edit the images they had selected.

Some images had been emailed, others needed to be scanned. It was fascinating to see the things people had brought along. One of the ones I worked on was a menu card from BOAC for a trip from London to Auckland that the parents of one of the participants had made. The trip had about ten legs, most of two to three hours length, and a meal was served during each stage. The whole trip took more than 24 hours, not counting time spent on the ground.

I wish I had kept a copy. We will spend about 23 hours travelling when we go to the US in July, but we will probably only be fed 3 times, and our trip has only 2 legs: Perth to Singapore, Singapore to LA with a 3 hour stopover in Singapore and night flying to LA. Long distance travel is much more appealing now than it was then.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Back to Basics

I was a little apprehensive about this workshop - most of the members of Designing Women have been playing with textiles as long as I have - but it was very well received. The newish members loved it, because there were techniques that were new to them. Some others who have been members for longer commented that it was great to revisit previously learnt techniques and explore variations.

So I think it was a success.

The first technique we looked at was the use of water solubles in constructing a fabric. I had a dozen different samples of disappearing stabilisers. Most were water solubles but we also looked at vanishing muslin. This technique was the only one I demonstrated and here is the result.

I used recycled sari silk fibres on a base of Vilene 541 (sol-u-web), covered it with another layer and scribbled all over it with metallic thread. I think I will cut it up and use bits with the embellisher.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Box Challenge

The box challenge for Designing Women was due today, so we had a viewer's choice award.

Unfortunately, though I had my phone with me, I didn't get a good picture of the winner.

Zoe had hollowed out the centre of an old book and glued and painted the leaves. Then she had used all sorts of fabric and embellishments on the covers. It was stunning.

There were 16 boxes on display and some really interesting and attractive ones. This is mine.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Contemporary Quilt Group

All the A3 challenge quilts were supposed to be handed in today so that the arrangement can be organised in advance. You can imagine what Show and Tell was like. In three words: interesting, exciting and inspiring. QuiltWest visitors are in for a treat if they like this kind of quilt.

I am typing up the labels and I was often surprised at how a particular quilt was so much more than its label had suggested.

There will be about 50 of these A3 challenges. I will be sure to take photographs.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sizoflor, Tyvek and PVA

I had fun with the sizoflor today. I used two colours - blue and gold, cut out petal shapes, freemotion zigzagged the edges with metallic thread, scribbled over the surface and stitched a wire to the back of each one, then joined the petals together. The stamens are beads threaded on wire. Then I attacked it with the heat gun. This is the result. I think I will have to make another one to wear to THE WEDDING in the US in July!

Then I played with some tyvek. I coloured both sides of a piece with metallic crayons, cut out leaf shapes, sandwiched them with organza and scribbled with metallic thread - gold in the bobbin and green on top. I had intended to try to only bubble the tyvek, but I got impatient and zapped it from both sides. There are lots of lovely holes in this and I think I will apply it to a base fabric. A peach colour looked good, but I didn't have enough. I need to search my stash. The piece looks different depending on which side you look at, but I used the same colour crayons on both sides.

And the PVA? I glued the stamped tissue to my box, then coated it all with diluted PVA to seal it. No photo - but watch this space.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Quilt finished, busy time ahead

I took this photo of part of the back of my QuiltWest entry under a very strong light which has washed out the colour. The backing is actually black homespun.

I put the last stitches in it tonight. The label is done and the sleeve is attached. I just need to make a calico bag for it.

I also need to label the bags I am entering and make a carry bag for them as well. Not a big task - I am planning to finish it off after the weekend. Everything has to be delivered next Friday, the 18th.

Tomorrow I have Embroidery Guild meeting. We are going to be playing with tyvek, but I am also taking some sizoflor and my heat gun to play with as well.

Friday is Contemporary Quilt Group and Saturday is Designing Women where I am running a workshop and when the box challenge is due. I am ready to cover my box with the tissue I have stamped, so I hope I will finish that tomorrow. The stuff for the workshop is all ready, except for some photocopying.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


I went to water aerobics this morning and then had a fitness appraisal. This is supposed to be a gentle introduction to the machines in the gym.

Gentle? My program involves 5 minutes on the treadmill at a pace that seems to be at least 3 times faster than our walking (even though we have been picking up the pace lately), followed by 3 sets of 12 on 3 different weight machines (I can probably cope with this) then 30 minutes on a recumbent cycle, again at a flat out pace.

The total circuit is supposed to last about 45 minutes. I really don't think I will be able to do this after an hour's water aerobics, so I will have to plan to go more often. It really helps that the gym is only 2 minutes away. When I get really fit I will run there (in my dreams!)

Today's fibre adventures were few. I designed and programmed a label for my quilt, but the stitch out was really horrible. Even though I reduced the top tension the bobbin thread kept pulling to the top. So I took the machine to Bestway. David updated it for me and fiddled with the bobbin tension and hopefully fixed it. We also solved the problem of a 4D Embroidery bonus design disk not loading.

I stamped a bit more on the paper for my box. Plan to finish this tomorrow.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Nearly there

I finished quilting my QuiltWest entry today, trimmed the edges, made the sleeve, prepared the binding and pinned it all in place. Whew!

Now all I have to do is make and attach a label and finish the binding. The hand sewing should be a good project for my sewing group meeting on Wednesday night. Then I have to make calico carrying bags for the quilt and the bags I am also entering - need labels for them too. I think I will print the bag labels on the computer, but I am toying with the idea of an embroidered label for the quilt. A good project for my new software.

I also made considerable progress on the challenge box due next Saturday. I have painted the dividers and started on stamping the paper I will use to cover the box. Looking good so far.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Getting there

The quilting on the WAQA quilt is very nearly finished - just a 20cm x 80cm border strip to stitch. Stars of course.

I gave up when my shoulders started to ache and finished off the mug holder. Then I tackled next Saturday's challenge and actually completed the box construction. I have decided that I will paint the internal dividers - I think it would be too difficult to cover a 6 by 4 egg crate type arrangement with paper. I like the experiments I have done, so tomorrow is stamping day (after I finish the quilt!!)

I have completed the requirements list and notes for the first workshop.

And I have met the 10000 step target for the past two days because we have done really long walks so that time spent on the computer and sewing machine hasn't affected the results.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Two Bags Full

Noelene came round this afternoon to help organise the requirements for the HEIWA workshop I am doing at the end of the month.

The idea was we would make a leisurely survey of the yarns in Big W, then go to Spotlight and look at their range. We planned to buy about 40 balls - there are 22 people doing the workshop.

The best laid plans . . . I had a major computer stuff up and I had to stay home while it was being fixed. Noelene didn't mind - I gave her a pile of textile magazines and she spent a couple of hours happily perusing them.

By 4.30 I decided we just had to go. Leaving Kevin to hold the fort, Noelene and I dashed down to Big W. It took us less than 20 minutes to select 42 different yarns in a wide variety of colours and textures. We hope the workshop participants will like them.

Here are some of them.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Mug Holder

At last month's Contemporary Quilt Group meeting Lois shared the pattern for a Japanese style teapot holder aka mug holder. Her samples looked lovely in the Japanese fabrics she used.

The challenge for May was to make one of these bags or else an A3 quilt using a monochromatic colour scheme. I decided I might be able to complete a bag, so yesterday I went looking for fabric in my stash. No Japanese fabric, but I found a couple of bits of hand dyed cotton "baby muslin" (Spotlight label) that I had subjected to the cloque process at a workshop by Linda last year. The fabric was supposed to crinkle, but instead just thickened so that it was almost like felt. I also found an uncloqued piece of the same fabric to use as lining.

Last night I used a variegated cotton thread and meandered all over the cloqued piece. Then today, after an hour of quilting my WAQA entry and with aching shoulders and an intense desire for a change of activity, I made the bag. Easy peasy, except that I haven't yet finished hand stitching the base. The drawstring is a strip of the lining fabric, twisted and zigzagged.

I estimate I have about 3 more hours of quilting before the quilt is finished and ready for binding. Since I am working with invisible thread on a basically black background I cannot work at night. The best time is in the morning when the sun comes into my sewing room.

Oh, and this is my 101st post.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Paper and the Challenge Box

I am still unhappy with the tissue paper I painted to use for my challenge box, despite adding another layer of paint. The challenge is due Saturday week so I need to get moving.

The box is intended to hold a collection of stamps carved from bubbly corks and I was going to stamp the painted paper with them. I think the problem is that the paper is now too busy and the stamps will get lost. I will try a small section tomorrow to see.

But I now have another idea. Today I bought two packets of joss papers from the Chinese supermarket in Fremantle. One is a collection of papers in various colours. The other is an brown paper printed with a silver-gold square. More experiments tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Workshops Looming

I will be teaching 3 workshops in the next month and I am panicking a bit. I need to make extra samples for two of them and also finalise requirement lists.

The first workshop is for Designing Women. The title is Back to Basics and I am getting people to experiment with ways to make interesting base fabrics for further embellishment. I have done this workshop before with absolute beginners - it will be a bit more challenging with more experienced textile artists.

The next one is for the Home Economics Institute of WA. This is one of the workshops I need to make more samples for. I was a Home Ec teacher before I retired and each year the Institute lets me show off things I have been playing with. I always make sure that the techniques taught in these workshops can easily be applied to the classroom. This time I am teaching weaving bags on a cardboard loom. I am looking forward to going shopping this weekend for yarn to make kits for the students. Here are some very old samples of the possible results.

The third workshop is for Catalyst. It is called Floaty Flowers and is about making 3D flowers from sheer fabrics.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


I am still quilting my WAQA entry. I have been working out from the centre, outlining and echoing the applique flowers. I was then going to continue the echoing lines at the bottom and fill in the top with freemotion stars. However, today I decided the bottom would be too boring and I have now quilted some flowers and leaves and echoed them and the bit I have done looks far more interesting. So now I will do the same thing with all the bottom and some of the top. There will still be stars though. I rashly said last week that I expected to finish the quilting on the weekend - didn't happen. Still hoping I can finish by this weekend.

Then I must tackle my box for the Designing Women challenge. I have decided on the format. I am going to use foam core and cover it with tissue paper. Started painting the paper today. I don't like what I have done, so when it is dry tomorrow I will try something else. I am not going to discard the tissue, just continue adding to it. I can visualise the finished product - the challenge will be getting there.