Thursday, April 29, 2010

Coffee and craft

If you live local (i.e. south of the river, Perth, Western Australia) you really should go along to the Fine Food and Craft Markets (Free Reformed Church of Southern River, Southern River Rd, Southern River) coming Saturday (from 9am till 2pm).

I'd hope to put together a stall for this. I had it all planned out about six weeks, and even bought some fabric for a table cloth. But when I did a time budget I realised I really would be pushing it, and for the sake of everyone in this house, reluctantly gave it a miss. But I can't wait to see what everyone else has made! Do come along and check it out. I've heard that my little brother is brewing the coffee, and he makes a great cuppa so it'd be worth coming just for that!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Guess I should let you know how the quilt is coming along...

Things on the Houston-quilt-front are going reasonably well. The pieces have been cut (from the colour scheme above) and laid out on trays all ready for piecing. A day was spent drawing designs for screen-print stencils. Another day was spent cutting out the stencils...
Yesterday was screen printing day. Well, frustratingly little was done during the day, but I managed to storm through it all yesterday evening! Rather pleased with the results too! Lots of images and texture relating to the theme of the quilt...
So today I was going to really get stuck into that piecing. I had no errands to run, no household jobs to interfere, and we started out on a roll, until things went pear-shaped around 9:30am. You probably don't want to know any of the gory details involved, like myself sitting in the armchair snuggling with Daniel and Caleb and copping a face full of something from Caleb, whom we now know has a yucky tummy. The next hour was spent showering, disinfecting and washing. Needless to say, after a few rounds of this, the sewing machine was packed away for the rest of the day, with the hope of better times this evening. I think I'm still on track to get the quilt done on time, but I suppose that depends a bit on how many of us catch the bug!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Big 'uns

Who did you meet in your garden today?

Friday, April 23, 2010

A solemn thing

It is a very solemn thing to become another year older. Something to be absorbed with all your senses (don't waste effort and focus on superfluous things like smiling).
Never fear, though, Caleb is thoroughly enjoying his birthday - that's just his normal facial expression for 'discovering the world!' He is having a very nice birthday, full of books (he LOVES books), trains (he LOVES trains)...
...and a swing full of visitors (he loves his new swing, and he LOVES visitors but prefers to have the swing to himself).
So, yes, Caleb is now two! Who would have thought that such a little guy can stake out such a dominant position in a family of six? Even with a new baby in house, the days often still seem dominated by Caleb (just as he has a fairly prominent place on this blog!) - sometimes in positive ways, sometimes in not-so-positive ways. Maybe it's the age. Having said that, his passion for life is probably actually what we enjoy the most about him! It is our prayer that as he grows up he will learn to use that passion for the glory of God!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The development of a quilt design

People are often interested in how I get to my quilt designs, so I thought I'd share the process I usually go through. It's a bit more 'technical' than normal, so feel free to skip through! I always start by general sketching of anything that relates to the theme or idea I want to explore. I call this 'just drawing' - drawing without a particular purpose in mind, but just to familiarise myself with the subject matter. Very quickly, an idea (or fifty) starts to take shape in my mind, and I will draw up quick mud-map type sketch to settle on the very rough layout/concept of the quilt.
This is played with a little, and fleshed out a bit...
...and then I can sketch with a bit more purpose. This is when I work on the actual images that will be portrayed on the quilt.
Often this takes several attempts, with much fine tuning.
These images then need to be translated into quilt pieces. At this point the quilt drawing shows all the seams that will need to be stitched, and can actually look quite ugly.
When I am happy with the drawing it is traced onto a clean sheet of paper, with a fineliner. This image is enlarged to the final quilt size, to form my quilt pattern. Previously this involved much mucking around and wasted paper at the photocopier, so Phil devised a better method for me last week:We took a photo of the drawing and printing it out to the required size (across sixty or so A4 papers). Definitely way easier! I love it when we can refine the process, even a little bit! The photo is also traced into Illustrator (a drawing program) so that I can easily make a colour plan. At this point most of the brainwork is done, and the rest of the process can more easily be undertaken amongst the goings on of four children.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Did someone mention 'challenge'?

Certain people should never leave 'innocent' links to exhibition opportunities in the comments of this blog. Especially when the deadline is five weeks away. Especially when said person possibly knows full well that certain people around here can't resist a challenge.

So, of course, the challenge is being taken up. I aim to have a quilt ready for entry in five weeks time. For a number of reasons, really. One being that the theme of this exhibition fits so well with the ideas I have been exploring. Another being that I don't know if it is doable for me to have a quilt ready in this time - and I would like to know. Another being that there is nothing like a challenge to get me going (as already mentioned). And of course a trip to Houston would be an added bonus. And really there is nothing to lose, as failing everything else, I will at least have made progress on a new quilt!

Saturday and Monday were spent drawing up a new design. I'll share some of that process in another post. Now my schedule looks (very roughly) like this:
Week 1 - cutting out the quilt pieces
Week 2 and 3 - piecing the quilt top (including printing the fabric at various points along the way)
Week 4 - layering and quilting the quilt
Week 5 - binding the quilt, burying the threads and photographing the finished piece

I'm looking forward to the challenge!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

"I wish I could sew"

I have often had people say to me "I wish I could sew" or other comments like those, so I really appreciated Sooz' post yesterday - thoughts and advice for anyone wanting to sew - go take a look. I also greatly admire anyone who jumps in with both feet to just give it a go, like Bronya, and sis Emma. Good on you!

I have been inspired by Sooz's holiday sewing. I admire how she aims to make do with what she has at hand. So I have been giving more thought to altering existing clothes, and making new clothes from old clothes and the stash... So I resisted the urge to head straight to the shops for Caleb's new Sunday outfit. The pants come from the stash; the vest is from an old top donated by mum, and the shirt is cut down from one of mine. It is very satisfying to cut down old shirts, as you can eliminate a lot of the fiddly work by using existing sleeve splits, front buttons and button holes, cuff button holes and bottom hems. The model was a bit reluctant, and unfortunately while the pants are a perfect fit, the shirt and vest are still too big, so I may be heading out to the shops after all!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I love my postman

Look what he brought me today:
Including a little snippet of front cover fame...
and a double spread inside! Wow! This book looks and feels great. I can't wait to sit down with a cuppa and enjoy it at leisure. You can get your copy here (the best deal for Aussies, according to

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sometimes this is the only way to get any sewing done around here

Daniel believes he is entitled to my full attention in the afternoons. This afternoon I tricked him. Sitting next to the fabric I was cutting, he believed he had my full attention andgurgled away, or perfected his raspberries when there was no response forthcoming. And as we work, we listen to the rain coming down outside. We can hear it rather well today as the other three kids are away being entertained by their grandmothers!


Although later than promised, here are some pictures of what I've been working on. With the latest quilt virtually finished, it's time to start thinking about new quilt designs. (I do still have a major quilt cut out and ready for piecing, but like to work ahead of myself with new designs. This gives me the opportunity to stew over the designs for a bit while I sew the next quilt).I am still very busy with the concept of children discovering the world around them, and capturing that in my work. However, having noted with the latest quilt that the pieces where a bit too small and fiddly for my liking, I am faced with the problem of portraying people at a small scale. Although I like producing large quilts, I would also like to work on some smaller ones, and am currently limited by the smaller pieces of the faces.That means its time for some playing and experimenting with different ideas. The other day I tried interpreting a range of my sketches into stitch. These stitcheries were done by drawing my image onto water-soluble fabric, which was then placed onto the fabric background and stitched free-motion on my machine. Unfortunately the dye ran out of the red and yellow fabric.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Look's like it's happening!

It's always promising when the dinner table looks like this! Maybe tomorrow I will show the fruits of this mess...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I guess breakfast was yummy this morning!

We are planning to stay with my parents for the weekend. With our older kids this always prompted comments at the dinner table like "we better brush up on your table manners now, otherwise what will Grandma say?" Now things have degenerated to the point that we say "just as well we are going to Grandma and Grandad's house, so that they can sort you out" :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The New Quilt

I was rather excited to find out this week that my most recently finished quilt ('Golden Afternoons') has been accepted into The New Quilt 2010! This is a biennial juried exhibition of contemporary quilts presented by the Quilter's Guild of NSW together with the Manly Art Gallery and Museum. The exhibition opens 18 June 2010, so hopefully I'll post a photo then.

Meanwhile this new quilt (below) is close to being finished - just the handwork left!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Things we did

Well, we have been busy around here this week (promise!) - there just hasn't been much to show for it at the end of the day. There were all kinds of textiley projects (sort of) such as:
14 loads of washing
car washing
trying on winter clothes and decided what still needs to be bought or sewn
shopping for winter clothes
tidying up the thread stash
There were also many projects not remotely textiley such as:
making and eating chocolate torte
lots of walking (to make up for the chocolate torte)
sanding the deck balustrade in preparation for its new wintercoat
scanning Oma Bonker's old photos for inclusion in our family heritage album
cleaning and reorganising kitchen cupboards
listening to Aaron recite a part of the Easter story at school
admiring Hannah's many drawings and colouring-in pictures
and watching Caleb master the scooter.

All part of being the mum around here, I guess! (There's nothing like making a list of what you did do, to make you feel better about what you didn't get to; kind of like listing what you didn't buy to make you feel better about what you did buy... I like psychology!)

Now the little boys are sleeping and I am enjoying this (and trying hard not to think about the leftover chocolate torte in the fridge which I COULD be enjoying):I hope you are enjoying your Easter celebrations!