Friday, April 30, 2010

ShowOff Opening

My sister Dorothy and I went to the opening of ShowOff tonight. I have 3 pieces in the exhibition. We both thought the standard was better than last year. As always, the nibbles were spectacular, though I couldn't taste anything except one vegetable dip. Sad - Dorothy said they were great.

I fell in love with a piece by Margaret Coxall called The Grove. Unfortunately (or fortunately, according to Kevin) it was sold before I could use my credit card. $600 saved- but it was a fabulous piece. You can visit her website here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Digitising and Cake Wrecks

Pamella gave a great workshop today on digitising various insects using 4-D Design Creator. I enjoyed it, though I found I could not maintain the level of concentration needed for very long and I frequently fell behind. Thanks to everyone who helped me catch up!

Apart from the workshop, no fibre today. I delivered the pieces for ShowOff, filled a pile of scripts at the chemist and visited the podiatrist to have a painful callous on the sole of my left foot removed. It already feels better.

The podiatrist doesn't have magazines in his waiting room. Instead he has quirky art books. On previous visits I have enjoyed looking at pictures of shoes and handbags. Today I was delighted to find a copy of Cake Wrecks. This is by the author of one of the blogs I have on my Gooogle Reader and I enjoy seeing what appalling examples of the cake decorating art she can come up with. The book has examples I had not seen before. The blog is definitely worth a visit.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fiddling with framing

I finally finished framing the last piece for the ShowOff 6 exhibition which opens on Friday night. They have to be delivered tomorrow.

I needed spacers to hold the glass clear of the embroidery. I had tried strips of foam core, but they were not wide enough, and by the time I realised this it was too late to buy more (Anzac Day long weekend).

So it was off to Bunnings this morning to buy a strip of wood. OK - right size and Kevin cut it into the right lengths for me BUT it needed painting. I should have taken up Kevin's offer of spray paint. Instead I used acrylic paints.

The first 3 coats sank straight into the wood. Instead of being white it was a pale cream. After another 2 coats I decided enough was enough and assembled the whole thing. It was only then that I discovered the bottom of the frame was warped.

Too late to use anything else. It is sitting with a heavy weight on it which probably won't help. I think I will just have to offer a professional framing option if anyone buys the piece.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Craft Fair

My sister Dorothy and I went to a Craft, Antiques and Collectables Fair this afternoon. It didn't open till noon (Anzac Day today means the morning is devoted to services and marches) and was jampacked by the time we left at 2.45.

I had wanted to go so we could listen to a talk on recycling and refashioning clothing by Jody Pearl, and we did. It was worth the admission fee in itself. Only problem is now I have yet more projects to add to my TO DO list.

We wandered around the Craft part and I bought some pickles (an African Mango Pickle) from Armanda whose Eggplant Kasaundi is absolutely fabulous. I usually buy that, but I had a full jar at home. I also bought a pack of vegetarian dahl and some passionfruit butter. I could actually taste what I was sampling which was great.

By the time we got to the Antiques section I had run out of puff, so I sat on a chair while Dorothy did a quick round. She resisted the temptation to buy anything.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Journal Making Workshop

Suzanne ran a fabulous workshop for Innovative Stitches today. She showed us how to make a journal from card, cartridge or drawing paper, stitch and a selection of other bits and pieces. It was full-on and lasted for five hours with a half hour for lunch. I kept up pretty well till the afternoon when my energy levels dropped considerably. However, I stayed till the end and took copious notes so I hope I will have no difficulty in actually finishing it.

Here are my covers with a button and machine made cord tie to hold the whole thing together when it is assembled . The covers are made from very textured handmade paper that I bought from an Asian import shop some years ago. Yesterday I painted it with a soft purple acrylic paint, then stamped it with a deeper metallic purple and a striped handmade stamp. The paper was so bumpy that it didn't print well, but you can see some of the stamping in the middle near the button. I then brushed the paper first with lilac metallic oil pastels, then with silver.

These are some of the bits I am yet to use. The fabric is for the spine of the journal and the stripey holographic paper is for the endpapers.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A busy day

I have done lots today. I went shopping this morning and bought some things for the house at Kitchen Warehouse and Spotlight, as well as doing the usual grocery shopping. Because I went to a supermarket that I don't usually patronise I found myself retracing my steps often so I got a bit of a workout that way, which has probably contributed to my tiredness.

When I got home I completed my entry for Stitched and Bound. I had to copy the professional photos onto another CD because the images were labelled as Untitled, rather than the proper name of the quilt. Then I had to print one image and found that the colour wasn't true, which is a requirement for the entry. A bit of Photoshopping and prints from 3 different printers resulted in an adequate image. Checklist complete, we took the entry down to the Post Office and sent it off. Hooray! another TO DO crossed off.

Then I made some twisted yarn cords with my machine for the journal making workshop I plan to do with the Embroidery Guild tomorrow. Finishing the collection of the materials required took quite a bit of time and fossicking in various storage places. I also had to decorate some paper to use as the cover. I finished this after dinner, so no photo - the flash wipes out the detail. I promise a pic of the finished journal.

Over the weekend I have to finish the framing of one of my entries for ShowOff 6. The others are done. Delivery is Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Feather Finished

I finished my thread sketched peacock feather today. I fused the painted fabric to a lightweight polyester wadding and backed it with very lightweight poplin before I started free motion stitching.

When I had finished I made an "escape hatch" binding: another layer of fabric with a strip of vliesofix and a hole slashed in it. Stitch the quilt and backing around the edges, trim the corners, turn through. Iron carefully, pulling the slit edges together. If you're really fussy, cover the slit with your label.

I am really pleased with my piece. It is intended for the Contemporary Quilt Group display at QuiltWest in May.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bobbinwork Bag

I went to Husqvarna Club this morning with some Show and Tell. Last month's challenge was to use thick threads in the bobbin, stitching from the wrong side so the thread developed texture on the right side.

I decided to use two different threads - a cream crochet cotton and a variegated brown. I threaded the brown thread through the tension and stitched it on cream.

The cream thread, stitched on brown, was not threaded through the tension. I love the bubbly look, but it took about 20 bobbins to do, all wound by hand.

I made the bits of fabric into a bag. I think I will have to start giving some of the bags I make away - I have so many hanging on the sewing room doorknob (both sides of the door) that they keep falling off.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday Flowers

The flowers I was given on Tuesday are now in full bloom and looking gorgeous. Thank you, Noelene.

Yesterday, after I had been to the hospital to have the pump removed, I went to a lunch-time reunion of women who have connections to Wongan Hills. This is the small Wheatbelt town where I (and my sister and brother were born, and where we lived till I was 12). The lady who organises it was my Standard 2 (Grade 3, these days) teacher. In the past year she has had a minor heart attack and a lump removed from a breast, so yesterday she passed the organisation on to a classmate of mine, so I think it will continue for a few years yet. It was great to catch up with old friends like Judy and with relatives like my cousin Sylvia.

I caught the train home from Perth to Cockburn. It was jam-packed. The Mandurah line is obviously a very successful addition to Perth's public transport.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Today's project was going to be a tote bag with some bobbin work decoration. My fingers are tingling as a side effect of one of the chemo drugs I had pumped into me yesterday and I am somewhat clumsy.

I was cutting out the fabric when I cut something I did not intend - a slice out of the forefinger of my left hand. It bled profusely and is still seeping into the dressing. I think the slow clotting is due to the Clexane I am having to inject daily. If it's still seeping tomorrow when I go in to hospital to get the pump unhooked I will get a nurse to have a look at it.

So I didn't do any sewing today. I didn't want blood on my work.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Noelene came to morning tea today. We worked together at Safety Bay Senior High School twenty years ago (Yikes!) and have kept in touch.

I did the full morning tea bit - tablecloth and napkins, flowers and pretty cups, saucers and plates. I had to go and have a blood test, but when I came back I made sandwiches (no crusts, but not cucumber) and some raspberry pastries.

We had a very congenial time and Noelene brought me some lovely lilies.

The house is full of cut flowers at the moment because I have been given several bunches as late birthday presents.

This afternoon I stitched out the block for my heart quilt. I think it is a bit large, but it will be OK. I also sandwiched the peacock feather ready for thread sketching.

And it has been raining - wonderful!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Play day and a few other things

I fell in love with the thread sketched peacock feather on the cover of the latest issue of Quilting Arts and was determined to replicate it. I don't usually do this - I haven't made anything from a kit since the 70's, and never copy exactly things that appeal to me. But I made an exception in this case.

I found the pattern on the QA website, downloaded it, adjusted the size to fit A4 paper and printed it out. I traced the colour patches and I have now painted the base fabric. Next step is to stitch the ribs of the feather. I think I will fuse the painted fabric to a very thin wadding before I do.

Today I also digitised the tenth block for my heart quilt. I put the names of the contributors inside a heart shape formed of hearts. It looks great, but I had a problem with the stitchout. Several of the hearts don't stitch out properly. Then I broke the lever on the hoop I was using.

Time for some professional help. I took the stitchout and the hoop to Bestway. David fixed the hoop in about 30 seconds (DUH!) and suggested that the stitchout problem might be due to the foot I was using. I hadn't noticed that I had the open toe on, rather than the usual embroidery foot. So I will try another stitchout this evening. While I was there I had a good look at the new Pfaff and Husqvarna overlockers. I covet one that will do a cover stitch, but the variation in price between the different models in both makes is huge. Something to think about.

I haven't blogged about the Contemporary Quilt Group meeting on Friday where there was a great workshop. I didn't take any photos there except this one. Any guesses what it it is? A clue - it is not in the main part part of the hall. Love the texture.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I have just finished stitching a label to the back of my Stitched and Bound quilt. Tomorrow morning early I will go to Bunnings to buy some lath and some eye screws if I can't find any in my box of picture fixings which is somewhere . . ) Then I will deliver it to Margaret so it can be photographed on Monday.

I am reasonably (actually quite) happy with it. I just hope it is selected for exhibition.

It was Designing Women meeting today. We worked on finishing off UFOs. I took bits to do the Back in Black challenge, but ended up working on the reverse mola T-Shirt which Iris demonstrated last month. I decided to stitch the design by machine before cutting it back, and am very glad I did. Now I need to stitch around the design by hand. I think I might take it along when I have chemo next Wednesday.

I lasted till 2pm today before I had to pack it in. I had very bad diarrhea last night, but was much better today.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Devil's Number

My last post was number 666. I don't think it was very devilish - or even slightly supernatural.

Today I have done quite a bit - household shopping, a visit to the GP and a flu jab and even some fibre. I bought some more balls of yarn to add to the shawl I am knitting. I had ten different yarns, but it wasn't going to be enough.

I have nearly finished the hand stitching on my Stitched and Bound entry, but I am not sure when I will get it finished - I have meetings tomorrow and Saturday. Maybe Sunday - I will be really under the wire to get it to Margaret for photography.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I am reading

a couple of books on digital printing for fabric. There is not a lot of information in either that is not available elsewhere (I think Gloria Hansen's Digital Essentials is the benchmark) but I am enjoying the eye candy and it is interesting to see how the the same basic techniques can result in such different textile pieces.

I have not been reading as much in the last week or two because I have been working on the Stitched and Bound quilt, but I have finished the two latest episodes in Laurell K Hamilton's Merry Gentry series - Swallowing Darkness and Divine Misdemeanours. She is the author of the Anita Blake Vampire Killer series which I have never been able to get into, but I like this series about the fey living in a contemporary USA. I also read LE Modesitt's The Lord Protector's Daughter and a Diana Gabalden - Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade. Believe it or not, I have never read any of her books about Jamie Fraser - my sister is a great fan and recommends them, so they go on my list. At the moment I have two books on the go - A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and Naomi Novik's Empire of Ivory. And I am knitting.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I have received my latest ATCs from the centralised swap that Diana Bahler is running from New Zealand. It happens every two months - the last theme was Water, this one is Earth.

I like all my cards, but especially Cathy Smith's Ploughing the Earth.

Cards from Cathy Smith, Q, Sharon Andrews, NZ, Margaret Ware, NSW, Amelia Ruscoe, NZ, Cherie Hoyle, Australia and Carolyn Jackson, NZ.

It is interesting that so many people have used the Earth from Space image - I did too.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Moving right along

I have finished the machine quilting on my Stitched and Bound entry. The next step involves hand work - I am arranging some embellishments and tomorrow I hope to start the stitching. It needs a bit of thinking time before I dive into it. I may even make the deadline of Friday to deliver the quilt for photography. Or I may not. I can deliver it to Margaret on Sunday - she says Monday is too late!

I have discovered yet another project I want to try - shabby chic roses as demonstrated in a video on Roben-Marie's blog.

Add these to the felted flowers I discovered in an issue of Yarn I borrowed from my friend Lois, plus the other projects in the lineup . .

Aim: Finish Stitched and Bound tomorrow - I don't have any other jobs to do. Then start the DW Back in Black challenge (must look at my Lutrador/Rainbow Spun collection to see if I still have some silver left) and at least one of the pieces I want to make for the Contemporary Quilt Group display at QuiltWest in May. I don't think they will be ready by Friday when they are supposed to be delivered, but I am sure I can finish them before the actual display date!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Country Trip

We decided to make a little excursion to York yesterday. There was an Antique and Collectables Fair on as well as a photographic exhibition, and it is a lovely town and a nice drive. It was a very pleasant afternoon. I bought a couple of things at the Fair for very reasonable prices - including an set of eight old EPNS dessert spoons and forks for the huge sum of $28. Most of the exhibits in the photographic exhibition were quite ordinary, but there were some photos of textures (wall surfaces and leaves) that I liked and some Photoshopped images which I found quite interesting as I tried to work out what the artist had done. Nothing terribly technical, mostly colour inversion and some filters.

Today we are going to Helen's for lunch, so we are having quite an active social weekend. Unfortunately, no stitching and those deadlines are looming!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Birthday to me

No stitching today.

My sister shouted us to lunch at Spinnakers which is situated on the end of the mole at Hillary's Boat Harbour. Great position - we were seated right at the windows so we could watch the passing procession of boats and the fumbling attempts of some boatees to pull up to the jetty for fuel.

The food was excellent, though as usual far too big a serving. I had a tasting plate which I could easily have shared, since there were two of everything. Somehow I managed to finish it though.

My pump finished by 2.30 so off to the hospital for disconnection. The Ivy Suite was closed because it's Good Friday, so I had to go through General Admissions and was then taken to the Cancer Ward. Quick and easy once I got there and I am always pleased to get rid of it.

We are now sampling a bottle of Moet which someone gave to Kevin for HIS birthday back in November. Not sure whether we will need any dinner.