Sunday, 4 October 2009

Here's a few photos...

...but I still need to take some more photos of some of the stuff I've been doing since I last posted (in the dim, distant past).

Some friends came over to my studio one Saturday in August, and we had a great day playing with fabric and paint. My camera skills are definitely lacking because these are the only two photos that didn't come out blurry! The first photo shows Beryl and Anne and the second one shows Lynda and Edith, all hard at work.

I really enjoy the days we have these get-togethers. Having them here at my studio means that I can get the place ready over the preceding week, I don't have to travel anywhere with heaps of stuff and don't have to pack anything up at the end of the day to travel home again. The 'fatigue' part of my MS sometimes becomes overwhelming so being able to have playdays here is great.

This coming week I should be able to get some more photos organised and posted!


Sunday, 14 June 2009

speaking of the Kemshalls

Linda and Laura Kemshall also run the online City & Guilds patchwork and quilting courses ( as well as Creative Sketchbooks and Creative Computing). I've wanted to start the quilting courses for a few years now, and recently I decided that now was as good a time as any. So I'm now doing Level 2 7822-10 Patchwork and Quilting, which is the first course of three. My dream is to be able to do all three of the courses but that will depend on finances. They're definitely not cheap, but are high quality courses of study. I've got a while to decide though.

Module 1 was about colour mixing and fabric dyeing. I've done LOTS of fabric dyeing over the past 10 or 12 years so I got through that module fairly quickly. Module 2 involves playing with acrylic paints among other things, and I'm having a great time with that at the moment. My husband had carved a heap of lino stamps for me this week - I tried but don't seem to have strong enough hands. Apparently plumber's rubber gasket is easier to carve and the resulting stamps work the same. I have no idea what plumber's gasket is, but will try and buy some so we can test it out.

little challenge quilt

Linda and Laura Kemshall are well known in the quilt world. A few months ago they ran a quilt challenge called the 'Love Colour' challenge. You can read about it at the link below.

I made a little quilt for the challenge, and I'm tickled that a photo of it is on their website! It's a variation of the big fuchsia quilt I made earlier in the year, and was a lot of fun to make.

Busy couple of months...

on the quilt front. In May I went to the State Guild's annual retreat at Poatina. I think it's about the 12th or 13th year we've gone to the same place, and I've missed 2 of those years. It was a tad cold up there in the mountains, but stayed fine while we were there. Here's the website for Poatina village if anyone's interested. One day I'll learn how to do links properly!

I got quite a bit of quilting done on my tulip quilt. I did the applique in 1983 - the stitches are about 1/4" apart and all the stitching on both the pink and dark green fabric is done in white thread. Mum had kept the quilt top for the last 25 years then gave it back to me. I was tempted to just throw it out but then decided that it was part of my quilting history so I would finish it and keep it. I'm doing the quilting on my faithful Husqvarna, and enjoying it too. It's going to be 'feathery' - I'll post a picture when it's done.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Thank you, everyone...

...for all the comments! I posted the photos on Saturday night, and on Sunday morning our modem died. It could have at least done it during the week when businesses are open. So today we have a brand new modem and I'm connected again.

Gale, I hope you love Jane's class as much as I did. And yes, start taking photos now! If you can take some closeup photos of your favourite flowers and leaves from all different angles and at various stages of development, all the better. That's if your doing the same class? Even if it is a different class, the photos will still be inspiring for later projects.

Stephanie, the last time you saw my class project it was still a sketch on a piece of baking paper! It was so hot in that classroom that I didn't even get my fabric out of the bag. Just as well because I totally changed my mind about the fabric I wanted to use...about 5 times at least.

Right now I'm going to give my studio a bit of a tidy-up (well, when I finish my cuppa) as I'm having a couple of quilters and their husbands over for a meal tomorrow night. At the moment there are little piles of 'stuff' everywhere - but I do just about know where everything is. After it's tidy I probably won't be able to find anything at all. Sound familiar?

Saturday, 4 April 2009

quilt-as-you-go blocks

So far my tally of blocks has reached 65. These will be on their way to Victoria on Wednesday. I have another 20 backings cut to size and oodles of strips cut ready to make more. Most of my bits of spare batting have been used up but I still have a bit left. I've enjoyed making the blocks and can't get over how different they look when they have been trimmed to size and all the raggedy edges have gone.

fuchsia fantasy

At the end of February I went to the Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne and did a class with Jane Sassaman. I LOVED the class! I won't go into details about the class - you'll just have to buy her book called 'The Quilted Garden', which has just been reprinted. I took lots of photos of fuchsias with me and designed this quilt using the photos for inspiration. The whole process was so much fun, and I have drawn up a few more designs using the same flowers. I could make a series of fuchsia quilts without even thinking about moving on to any other flowers!

So I loaded the photos backwards. There's a couple of views of the back of the quilt showing the free motion quilting, then a couple of closeups of the front, then a full view of the front. I couldn't get the colour right in the full view - the first closeup is closest to the actual colour. All the fabrics for the flowers and leaves is my own hand dyed cotton, and the blue background is one of the Moda Marbles range.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

a couple of fun projects

I'm onto the second groups of 24 QAYG blocks. The fabric I used for the backing is driving me crazy coz it's not sliding across the sewing machine easily - I have to fight with the d--n stuff! Aaaargh!! So to distract myself I thought I'd put up a few more photos here.

The 'tribal dancer' quilt started out as a piece of calico that I used as mop-up cloth when I was palying with some acrylic paint. I mopped up paint drips and cleaned the paint brushes on it. It didn't look too bad when I'd finished so I added some more paint and stamped it with rubber stamps, but then I didn't know what to do with it so it sat on a shelf for a couple of months. I liked the tribal dancer stamp so I enlarged the design and use if for the applique motif in the centre. It's quilted to death but the quilting was the most fun part!

I like to see the backs of quilts as much as the front (well, that's if the backing fabric isn't too busy) so here's the back.

Some of my medication comes in these white boxes, so I get a new one every couple of months. A quilt magazine will fit neatly in them so they're a useful size. I've given heaps of them away but still have 8-9 in the studio. I decided to try out some paint on one of them to see how it looked. Oen problem was that the pharmacist had written my name in black pen, which the paint didn't cover. My sister Rose and Mum were visiting at the time, and Rose suggested putting some flowers or something on to cover up the writing, so I did.

Mum asked if she could have one of the boxes to put some stuff in so I gave her this one. If I'd kept it I would have done a few more layers of paint or similar to it, but I have plenty more to play with yet.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

bushfire quilts part 1

I've made some progress with the quilt-as-you-go scrap blocks. This is the pile of strips thatI cut on Friday. I cut 6 layers of fabric at a time which made the process much quicker. I had a lot of check fabrics in the stash from 10-12 years ago so I made use of them here.

I cut twenty four 13" squares of backing fabric and batting. I'll cut the finished blocks down to 12.5" when I've finished them.

Here's the blocks as at 9.30pm Sunday night. I just have to fill in the corners. They're certainly not pretty but they are colourful. Tomorrow I'll have to scrounge up some more backing fabric to cut out another 24 or so squares.

I've actually enjoyed stitching these. It's so mindless! This week I had been planning to start quilting a quilt for the state exhibition in July but there's plenty of time for that. These blocks will take precedence for a while.

On the 25th we fly over to Melbourne for the Australasian Quilt Convention. We've been to the convention the last 2 years but this is the first time I'm doing a class. It's a 2 day class with Jane Sassaman called Abstracting From Nature. I'm looking forward to it, but a bit worried at the same time. Not about the class itself, but about how I'll cope with having to focus on something for 2 days. We're taking the wheelchair over with us and Murray will push me round in that while we look at the quilt show and the vendor's stalls so I can save energy for the class. Whatever parts of the brain that deal with speaking and language have been affected by MS, and I find being around people where I have to concentrate on words and participate in discussion or conversation is exhausting. Not just mentally but physically to the point where my balance is affected and I start to stumble, my left arm shakes more than usual and my speech starts to slur. I'll warn the tutor before the class starts in case she thinks I've got vodka in my water bottle LOL. The venue isn't air conditioned either, but I'm taking an electric fan and an extension cord with me. Only 10 more sleeps before we go.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

quilts for Australian bushfire survivors

The quilt group that I am a member of here in Devonport have decided to make some quilts for survivors of the bushfires in Victoria. We are making quilt-as-you-go blocks that will be joined to make single and queen size quilts.

I went through my stash on Thursday and found a stack of fabrics to use. I want to concentrate on quilts for teenage boys and men. There will be heaps of quilts made for girls and little kids but boys and men seem to miss out. My Mum came over yesterday afternoon and ironed all the fabric for me then I started cutting strips to do string piecing. After a couple of hours I had to stop and have a nap LOL. (The fatigue associated with having MS is a real bugga sometimes.) Poor Mum kept ironing till all the fabric was done. After tea I went back out to the studio and started sewing the blocks. I had 24 squares of batting and backing fabric cut so I'm piecing them all in a big production line. I got quite a bit done today and should be able to finish those 24 blocks tomorrow. I took a couple of photos today but won't post them here till tomorrow as it is just after 11pm now.

Just a thought if anyone outside of Australia wants to help. A couple of wonderful quilters have offered to send fabric which is very much appreciated. If anyone is interested, you could contact our local quilt shop and order a gift voucher instead of paying postage to post fabric over. If you email Selina, the owner, she will be able to tell you how to go about it. Her website has a contact email address also phone and fax number. If you do want to do that, please make the voucher out to Devonport Patchwork and Quilters, not to me.

Thanks to those who have already offered to help. Goodnight for now - I'm off to bed.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

ever seen a double rainbow?

I just found this photo again. I took it just before Christmas, I think. It's taken just outside our house. The colours in the inside rainbow were so bright - you really can't see it well in the photo. The outer rainbow was quite pale and indistinct. Neither of us had ever seen anything quite like it.

fabric cover for hardback book

My sister Rose asked if I could make a cover for a hardback A4 diary. She wanted to be able to replace the diary next year and use the same cover. I'd never done this before but I didn't see why I couldn't. It wasn't much different to making the journals I posted photos of last year.

This is the final result. The base of the cover is a heavy fusible interfacing. The one I used is called heavy badge backing. There are many other with various names but I can't get them here. I had some charm squares of Aboriginal fabrics so used some of them on a plain background.

I just noticed that I stood the diary upside down to take the photo. Oh well...

This is the outside of the cover laid out flat.

This is the inside with a pocket on each side to slip the diary covers into.

I'm pleased with the way it turned out. The worst thing about it was satin stitching around the edge - not because it's difficult, just because it is so tedious! (But worth it...)

scrap bags and sun prints

At our state guild meeting in December, one of the members was selling grocery bags full of scrap pieces. I got in early LOL, and bought this bag of batik scraps.

What a treasure trove it turned out to be! Many of the pieces were smallish but most were between 10" and 12" square-ish plus quite a few bigger than that. A lot looked as if they were originally shirts or pieces left over from making clothing. They were all cotton though. I'm very happy I bought it.

I tried sun printing for the first time just before Christmas. In the first photo I used Pebeo paints and love the way it turned out. Of course I poured too much out of the bottles so I watered it down a bit and used it to paint some small bits of white homespun. I chopped the ends of some fern fronds to use.

I used cheap acrylic paint for the fabric in the next photo. I thinned it down a bit and the colours are not so bright, but I still like it. I'll definitely be trying some more of this.

If you want to find out a bit about the process, here's some links:

Monday, 26 January 2009

It's been a while...

... since I last posted anything here. Thanks for your comment, Melinda. It's about time I put something else on this blog. My MS is behaving fairly well at the moment. I haven't used my walking stick for a few months now which is great! My memory has been behaving in an 'interesting' way recently. One day last week I went into the kitchen and couldn't remember how to open the cupboard doors - how strange is that? One time I was putting on my sneakers, the first one was fine but when I went to do up the second one I couldn't figure out how to do it. Another time I went into our local pharmacy to drop off a prescription, and I couldn't remember where the door was to get back out. In the first 2 examples the delay was only about 15 seconds or so, but I never did find the front door of the pharmacy - I found a door that connected it to the doctors surgery and from there out to the street. Sure makes life interesting!

I've still been playing in the studio though. I even got out the dyes that have been hidden away in the cupboard for a few years now. The first photo is where I was trying to make brown from blue, red and yellow. I put a heap of small scraps of calico and homespun in, and this is what came out. The actual fabric is a bit darker than it looks in this photo.

The next group was done using the principles of colour wheel dyeing but instead of blue and red and yellow, I used pink, green and black. I really like the way they turned out. The photo below shows some fabrics that I put in some of the dye pots when the dye was almost exhausted, resulting in lovely pale shades.

I made two pieces using the leftover green, black and brown dyes. They came out lighter than I hoped but still very nice. It's inspired me to do some more.

I have quite a few more photos to load and should get to that over the next week.

cheers, cat