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.