Monday, March 30, 2009

A little play

I made this small textured piece today to go with the red one from yesterday. It is swirls of embroidery thread vliesofixed onto a painted silk background left over from another project and covered with organza. I then stitched freemotion leaves all over and zapped it with the heatgun.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Eyes right?

Tomorrow will be the last day for the special drops I have been putting in my eye and I must say it feels very much better. Still won't be able to wear lenses though - I was cautioned about that by the eye specialist. I need to wait till the new ones are ready - should be sometime this week.

In the meantime I haven't been able to do much sewing. Neither the distance glasses or the reading ones quite do the job properly. I did manage this little textured piece.

It is a scrap of red rayon that I had previously stamped in gold, then stamped with bleach. Both stamps were carved wooden blocks from India. I freemotion stitched fairly roughly all over and because it wasn't properly stabilised (intentionally!) it developed texture.

This will be cut down and faced to be part of the new banner for the Contemporary Quilt Group's exhibit at QuiltWest in May. I still need to produce a piece for that. I know what I will do, just need to be able to see better to do it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins

Today was the monthly meeting of the Innovative Stitches group of the Embroiderers' Guild. The group is applying to hold an exhibition next year at Heathcote Gallery and has started work on the group piece. The theme of the exhibition is the Seven Deadly Sins, and this piece will attempt to demonstrate these in textiles.

And no . . . I don't think it is going to be at all serious and sombre.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nothing Much - Ordinary Extraordinary

Yesterday afternoon we picked up our friend Graham, who lives in Sydney, at the airport. We checked the plane arrival time (1.56) and arrived at the airport environs just after two to await a mobile call from him that he had collected his bags and was ready to be picked up. We parked in a neighbouring street, next to a stand of these towering eucalypts, and waited and waited and waited. Eventually we collected him at nearly 3pm.

After a short respite at home we went to Cottesloe to see the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. I was not as impressed by the exhibits as I have been in the last two years, but did enjoy our time there. I really liked the Andy Warhol piece and the emus. This one won the Viewer's Award.

I didn't take a photo of Tania Spencer's work unfortunately, but here's a scan from the catalogue. The scan does not show clearly that the piece is made from knitted galvanised wire (almost a textile!) There were several small children crawling in and out and looking like they were having enormous fun doing it.

Today I have been to the eye specialist. Good news. He has given me some steroid eyedrops to clean up the problem with my left eye, and reassured me that the cataracts I am starting to develop are not going to cause a problem for a few years yet. BUT I can't wear my lenses for at least another week, boo-hoo.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Clearing the decks

What a pity I didn't take Before and After photos! I have spent the afternoon in my sewing room. I can now use the table (though there's still stuff on it, it's piled neatly at one end) and the only bags on the floor (except the two that will go to the op shop tomorrow) are the ones in the baskets under the table. Most of the books have gone back to the bookshelf and the few that haven't are in a neat pile on one of the cupboards.

I have 3 projects lined up, and have even put away all the threads except the ones I will be using. I feel an enormous sense of achievement.

Mind you, the tidy space will only last until I start the first project and I am sure I will have problems in the future finding some of the stuff I have put away so carefully.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I have just downloaded a great freebie: 160 Textures from Ar-Bent-ing. You are free to use these high definition images in any way for your own work and even commercially. I think this is a fabulous offer. Here is a sample image (I have had to reduce it in size: the original is 1 MB).

I discovered the offer on Linda M's blog. They're called "160 Natural, Industrial, Grunge and Fabric Textures". If you download them, be sure to add a comment on the site.

I am still having problems with my eye and I don't think the cold Kevin generously gave me helps at all. My GP managed to get me an appointment with an eye specialist (for next week! WOW) so I hope there will be better news soon. I HATE wearing glasses!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gilding the Pomegranate

Apart from the meeting of Designing Women on Saturday I did nothing textile related over the weekend. The meeting was a good one - there were lots of tassels brought in for the swap and everyone seemed pleased with the one they got. I forgot to take a photo, yet again! Juliet got mine and I got Linda's lovely little flower tassel.

(If anyone is interested, both the cat tassel and the blue one I showed the other day are about 25cm long. Linda's is approx 8cm). Helen demonstrated a mola technique and some lovely pieces were started. Not by me. Kevin has generously given me his cold, and I have not been feeling well.

However today I decided to finish my homework for the Husqvarna meeting tomorrow. The project was to use gold leaf to embellish a textile piece. I had printed a photograph of some pomegranates and stitched into it a little, so I applied some vliesofix, then the gold leaf. It is not the most original or well done project, but it doesn't look too bad when inserted in a shadow box frame.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I decided I needed to make another tassel to use the purple hank of yarn I showed the other day.

Last month Designing Women had a swap of hearts and I ended up with a stitched (machine embroidered) cat's face and a red felt heart. I really couldn't think what I could do with them.

The cat is a design by Laurel Burch and I happen to own that design collection. What if I stitched another face, joined them together and used them as a head cover? So I did.

This is the tassel at the moment - just yarns tied together. I need to tie them off and bind the head, then slip the cat faces over. I don't know which tassel will go in the swap.

And for anyone interested: I did get a doctor's appointment and a script for some stronger eyedrops. I have been using them religiously and my eye feels so much better that I am going to put in my lenses tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Scquilters' Retreat Signature Squares

I have finished putting the 80 squares together into a top. I think I am going to use this as a lap quilt for the sofa.

The next task is sandwiching and then quilting. I have found some batik style flannel in my stash, so I am considering using that as a backing. I have some batting that I could use, but I think that, combined with the flannel, may make the quilt too heavy.

I will get some advice from my sewing group tomorrow. I need it - I haven't made a quilt larger than a metre square in years.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The tassel, finished

I think I got a bit carried away. Not only did I use a bit of every yarn in the hank for the skirt, I also used the designs I digitised at a workshop last week to stitch out some 3D organza flowers and a decorated felt background to make the head.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Blues

We have a challenge to make a tassel for swapping at Designing Women this month. I was going to use some of the piles of yarn I have when I spotted this hank at Spotlight. This is the purple colour way. It just shouted TASSEL at me.

The yarn is actually 10 yarns, simply tied end to end. This is what I ended up with when I unwound the blue one.

Tassel, here I come.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Workshop on the Web

I am still having eye problems and I can't get an appointment with either the optometrist or the GP until late next week, so I am continuing with the glasses shuffle. HATE it!

I did look at my email this morning and found the password for the March issue of Workshop on the Web. I thought there were a number of interesting articles, but the new format doesn't allow you to read before downloading which I think is not good. I usually do not download everything, but I had to, just to read it. Hope our download limit is OK.

I have subscribed to WOW since it started and have usually printed out the articles I found interesting. Decided to look at the printouts I have made and found that I had nothing printed out since March 2007. I seemed to remember that I had downloaded a number of PDFs and printing would be a task that was visually non-demanding.

When I went looking I remembered that at the end of last year Kevin somehow managed to consign my huge personal file to cyberspace and all our efforts to restore it had failed. Guess what was included in that!

So today I have downloaded two years' worth of articles. I plan to re-read them as soon as I can do so without problems, then print out what I think I will refer to in the future.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

80 times 2 equals 160

Last May I participated in the siggy square swap at the SCQuilters Retreat here in Perth. I ended up with 80 squares. Here is a sample of a square (I chose this one because it has minimal information - most have full name, location and often email address of the swapper which would make for privacy problems).

The coloured triangles are actually squares, so the underneath part can be cut off. These triangles, sewn together, make up another square. I have now cut them all off and stitched them together.

All I need to do now is press them and trim to size . . . . They will be approximately 3" squares and I will have 160 of them. I am still thinking about that!

As for the siggy squares, I have chosen a layout and they are spread all over the spare bed. A bit more shuffling and I will be able to sew them together.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fear, Fright and Worry

I woke up this morning with a weepy eye which, when I looked in the mirror, was bright scarlet where it should have been white. No pain, so I inserted my contact lenses as usual and did a load of washing. Rolled the washing out to the line - really bad stabbing pain in the eye as I ventured into the sunlight.

OK, need some eyedrops. I went down the road to the pharmacy and was totally freaked out when the pharmacist (not one I had ever seen before) diagnosed an attack of acute glaucoma!! My optometrist tests me for glaucoma every time I go to her, so I was a little skeptical. He refused to sell me eyedrops and insisted I needed to visit a doctor immediately. (Today is Sunday, and tomorrow is a public holiday, so our usual GP wasn't an option). The emergency GP clinics don't bulk bill - in fact one local one isn't even registered for Medicare, so attendance is VERY expensive.

I dread the possibility of blindness, but I have had conjunctivitis before and I thought this was a more likely diagnosis. So I went to another pharmacy. Same listing of symptoms, but this time the pharmacist agreed that I should try some mild antibiotic eyedrops and go to my GP on Monday if the eye was no better.

I have now had two doses of the drops. While the eye is still red, the inflammation has subsided, though I still can't tolerate bright light. The worst of it is that I have had to ditch my lenses and dig out my glasses, which I totally loathe! One pair for reading, another for general vision plus sunglasses . . . I hate the clutter of cases and the swapping of one set for another.

I am hoping the drops work and my eye will be better tomorrow. I am resigned to the glasses until it is.