Friday, October 29, 2010

Do you like my new sewing table?

Do you like my new sewing table? Here's what I love about it:
- it stores all my quilt fabric
- thanks to my father-in-law's door stash, it cost me nothing
- it's in the middle of everything, which means that while I am sewing I can monitor the kids outside, the kids inside, the kids in bed, the dinner on the stove, the baking in the oven, and the washing in the washing machine:)
- I don't have to share it with anyone or anything, which means that everything can be left exactly where it is, ready to be picked up or put down at a moment's notice. It's amazing how many more quilt bits can be stitched together in a day when I can sit down and stitch for 10 minutes before school, 2 minutes while waiting for the kettle to boil, and 5 minutes while dinner is simmering.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Coming up soon in Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building...

It's official. I will be exhibiting as a feature artist at the Australasian Quilt Convention in April next year. As always, I am thankful for the many opportunities that I have to develop and pursue quiltmaking as an artform. I'm also glad for any excuse to visit Melbourne. Now to find some babysitters for four wild things for a long weekend. (I will get in trouble with Phil for calling them that, but he only lives with them for one-and-a-half out of thirteen-and-a-half waketime hours six days a week. Not that anyone's counting, of course.)

Alive and well

I'm ba-ack! Sorry to drop out without a word. I was so busy trying not to think about moving house, that all of a sudden it was Moving Day and I wasn't quite as organised for it as I would have liked to have been... But never mind, we are now very comfortably established in our new temporary accomodation. It all happened very smoothly other than the obscenely long time it took to get our internet connection going. Surely it should be illegal for a simple switchboard procedure to take nearly three weeks to happen in these modern times...Before moving, I was going to post about how we were going to miss the wonderful light in our old home. And we do, but it's also amazing how quickly you adapt to new circumstances. We have set up our work and play stations to make the most of the light in this house, and everyone has declared themselves to feel very at home. Caleb and Hannah both stated this separately soon after I pulled my sewing machine out for the first time. I had to smile about how that sewing machine is such a crucial element in our home!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Got gingerbread man...

I promised Caleb weeks ago that we would make gingerbread men in the school holidays, and promises must be kept, moving house or not! So this morning we got to it.
Caleb has spent the afternoon running outside to catch gingerbread men.
"Got gingerbread man in my hands!"

Fooling around...

...with the baby, the camera and the computer.
I'm sure he is more intelligent than he looks.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Natural colours

I was introduced to natural dyeing by our next door neighbour when I was in primary school (same neighbour who taught me to spin, and helped me to spin enough wool for a jumper for myself). I recall collecting onion skins, scraping lichen off trees, and using alum to prepare remnant carpet wool from the old Albany Woollen Mills for dyeing. Since then the only natural dyeing I have done is boiled eggs in onion skins at Easter time. Until this week, that is.

In the name of scientific investigation with the kids, we collected ingredients and brewed up various dyes in order to make.......PLAYDOUGH! Sophisticated, I know. Sorry to anyone expecting beautiful naturally dyed fabrics to appear in my next quilts... We followed the instructions from here, and used turmeric, blueberries, beetroot and onion skins. We would have loved to try out more ingredients, but there is only so much playdough you can have in the house. I look forward to unpacking my copy of India Flint's Eco Colour when we get to the new house, for more ideas and inspiration!
The playdough was made yesterday afternoon. Checking out the colour of each new batch was fun for everyone, and then this morning the kids played with it for three whole hours.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Today's job

Today's job is to rinse out the fabrics that were dyed yesterday. Can't wait to see which colours I get!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Preparing to dye

The quilts are all cut out. I had good reasons for pushing on with them - we move into a temporary (for six months) new home at the end of this week, and I'm thinking that the best way to adjust to a new home must surely be to have a substantial sewing project to get stuck into! The light in this house is also just so good for selecting colours. The biggest reason, though, was to stop myself from packing up everything in sight too far in advance.

Packing up is this week's big project, but I'm thinking I can still squeeze a dyeing session in over the next two days. (This house and I dye well together - we have our established patterns and procedures). Cutting out seven quilts seriously depleted my skin tones down to a handful of snippets, so I'm going to try for some of these colours today, along with some nice browns and lighter neutrals. This has meant a detailed study of 'The Historical Record of the Dyeing Experiences of Ruth de Vos' in order to come up with a list of dye recipes to try. The results are still always hit and miss, but that's half the fun.