Thursday, October 29, 2009

In print

My work has been blessed with some good publicity recently! Sue pointed out that the Winter 2010 SAQA journal is up online (for members only) and features 'In Good Company' on the front cover, as well as my four page feature article. Then Deborah Saegart, editor of Down Under Quilts emailed this morning to say that their next issue will feature a 7-page article on my work. Here's a snapshot of the front cover:
I look forward to seeing both magazines 'in real', and am very thankful for such opportunities to share my work!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Also on the dinner table

I don't tend to procrastinate much, but tonight, these photos and this blog post are a means of procrastination. I am in the process of cutting out a new quilt, and that is not my most favourite task. So far tonight, instead of making headway on this quilt, I have managed three separate blog-reading sessions, several trips to the toilet as well as researching heart-burn remedies, and on-line sources of daylight globes (put like that it almost sounds like a productive evening... the heart burn is gone, so I suppose that is something). I think I'll manage one more spurt of cutting and ironing and then call it a night. (I think this morning's tea party wore me out - it was worth it though, even if it were only for the hummingbird cake and the iced botanica tea!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sitting pretty

These pincushions sit in the middle of our dinner table, eagerly awaiting some handstitching and embroidery to finish them off... at some stage, when there is a lull in the busyness that is a household with three kids!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Please don't be jealous, but look at all my red fabric!

Actually, in my computer the right image looks more pink than in real life. I really am happy with my new reds! There will be a bit of tweaking still, to get the right deep reds, but this is definitely a huge improvement! There were a few things which I think I was doing wrong. I had switched to prewashing my fabric in cold water rather than on the hottest setting as advised in my dyeing book (not for any particular reason, just because I always wash with cold water). I suspect that this wasn't doing a good enough job of washing any pre-existing substances out of the fabric. I think my pre-soak solution of washing soda in water had also gradually become weaker (out of habit - Phil blames it on my slap-dash approach to cooking, learnt from my mum!).

I was also surprised to notice what a big difference the quality of the fabric made to the final colour. When I first started dyeing my own fabric I used a reasonable quality homespun, but then found a cheaper one which I buy by the bolt. However, this week I tried some better homespun (more even weave) from our local craft shop and was surprised to see how much better this took the dye. I wonder if that is due simply to the weave of the fabric, or to something else?

Anyway, I am now looking forward to cutting out my next quilt, with a healthy dose of reds!

Birthday girl

Look how happy our birthday girl is! After a nice birthday party with friends yesterday, we celebrated quietly today, starting with pancakes for breakfast, a walk to a local park in the morning, icecream cake after Dad came home in the afternoon, and watching Snow White together before a dinner of chips! Now all three kids are fast asleep (that's when we say 'party time').

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Do you see what I see?

Yes, that's right! - red fabric on my washing line. Finally, success with my dyeing! (Longer term readers will know I have been trying without success since the beginning of this blog to dye red, rather than pink, fabric!)

When my latest effort came out of the washing machine pink on Monday, something finally twigged - that it was my fabric preparation rather than my dye-mixing that was to blame. So on Tuesday I did a 'full-blown' dyeing experiment, to consider the impact of various factors on my results (fabric quality, soap type, placing fabric in sun, adding salt to bag). And then late last night I overdyed a range of pink fabrics, to hopefully give me a range of reds. Can't wait to see how they come up! Will let you know (like it or not)!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I think I might have a problem...

...whatever I make lately, I can't seem to just make one, or even a few, but have to make lots! Six weeks ago I made 10 dozen cupcakes when I only needed 4 dozen; three weeks ago I cut out pincushions - 18 of them; two weeks ago I made hand-stamped notepads (15 of those) and today I tried my hand at these gift ribbons - not just one, but 16... And its not even as if I had nothing better to do today (like finish of the paper I am writing for Bible Study club tomorrow night, or preparing for the talk I am to deliver to the Western Australian Quilter's Association in two weeks, or draw pictures for a book I am supposed to be illustrating, or even just work on the next quilt design). But no, I spent my quiet time this afternoon making gift ribbons instead...

I do have a logic to making so many items at once - it appeals to my sense of efficiency. I figure when I start that having pulled out my supplies and equipment and put my brain into gear, its much better use of my time to make many at once rather than just one. Unfortunately I just tend to go a bit overboard with just how many.
Anyway, if you are also inclined to set up a gift ribbon production line on your dining table, or even if you only want to make one, just click here for more info.

Friday, October 16, 2009


My 'Art Quilt Australia 09' entry is packaged and ready to post on Monday. This all happened with way less fuss and stress than normal - maybe I finally have the process worked out properly, or maybe (probably) its because of the super-duper fat-enough cardboard cylinders we now have from our extractive metallurgist friend. Today the packing process involved:
- vacuum cleaning the floor
- pulling or cutting off any stray threads on both sides of the quilt
- wiping quilt with damp cloth to remove fluff
- covering a light, narrow cardboard roll with calico held in place by rubber bands
- rolling the quilt, with front facing out, around the narrow roll
- covering rolled quilt with calico
- covering calico-wrapped quilt with bubble wrap
- inserting into super-duper cardboard cylinder, with foam bits to stop it from jiggling around
- taping up the end of the cylinder
- removing old postage labels and adding new ones.

Did you know that my quilt sizes are now dictated to some extent by Australia Post parcel size limits? Quilts are best mailed rolled rather than folded, but Australia Post will only take parcels up to 105cm long. After making a quilt which was too big by only a few centimetres I have learnt that it is worth considering this early on in the quilt designing process, rather than after the quilt is bound and photographed!

Summer sewing

Well, I haven't progressed beyond the beginnings of the quilt in the last post - the week has been spent on more 'house-keeping'-type sewing, such as mending, and making summer pyjamas for our little monkey, and summer 'going-out' clothes for our big boy (who didn't want to model them for the blog). I'll be glad to have this summer sewing out of the way soon (there are quilts waiting to be stitched!) - a few more PJs and shorts to go!

In slightly related textiley news, I made a great textile acquisition, which, though rather unphotogenic, has things looking up around here! We bought a maternity support belt this morning. I have been slowed right down to a hobble by back (and other) pain every afternoon, and worse on house-cleaning and grocery-shopping days. Not a good thing when we still have over three months to go. However, after only a few hours of wearing the belt this afternoon I was already feeling much better - no backache at all, and feeling like I could tackle almost anything so I am very hopeful about this! (So is Hannah - 'now you will be able to play with me!')

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

I'm big too!

When all else fails, give the kids some balloons! Caleb is in a stage where he has to do everything the big kids do (can be very helpful sometimes) so he had a happy time walking around with his balloon in his mouth while Aaron and Hannah were busy blowing up and releasing theirs. He was very pleased with his balloon blowing efforts, and when he had worked out how he could be just like Aaron and Hannah he came to show me with a very big grin!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Inspire, cut and print

Hopefully the sewing can begin again in earnest when school starts next week. (There is a quilt asking to be pieced!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More 'craftmaking'

It's been a bit quiet on this blog as we spent the weekend in Albany terrorising my parents. Now that we're back, Aaron and Hannah are very busy with their 'making' and 'crafting'. This time they are working on projects selected from library books with much care already before the holidays - a paper birthday cake, and a crocodile who snaps his mouth open and shut when you pull his tale. Both projects have proven very successful so far!On the subject of craft, I thought I'd show our latest craft storage system. I now have quite a number of these drawer units (from Kmart and Big W). Although I don't find them particularly attractive, they do a great job of sorting out all our bits and pieces. These two are dedicated to the kids' craft supplies. We love it that we can easily see what we have. For the school holidays these boxes are living in the family room, and are a great source of inspiration for the kids.