Wednesday, August 31, 2011


When you have about a hundred million threads to tie off and bury, it helps, psychologically, if you take some beautiful photos first.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Science and sewing (or: any excuse will do)

Sometime nearly two months ago, we put up a design wall in my studio. Within a week I had it covered with these scraps. The wall was perfect for playing with the arrangement of the quilt bits. (Because this was a commissioned quilt for my most loyal blog reader and her family, I didn't dare feature a sneak peek here at the time. ) I thoroughly enjoyed making this picnic blanket. It includes a pack of handprinted fabric scraps from mikodesign (featuring kokeshi dolls and babushkas) as well as some of my own handprinted scraps (including some periodic table bits for the science nerd, I mean, whizz in the family).
Speaking of science nerds, we were amused and intrigued by a recent article in Time which suggested that since there have been more women in maths and science disciplines, there has also been an increase in the number of autistic children. To quote:
The same decades that saw a vast increase in the prevalence of autism witnessed an unprecedented
movement of women into math and science professions. This meant that future parents with
similar talents and temperaments - not just like-minded but like-brained - began getting
together to a greater extent.

This article is highly speculative, but seeing as Phil and I both have Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering degrees to our name, it caught our attention. Phil's flippant response to me was: "you better keep working on that art of yours".
Flippant it may be, but I'll run with that!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The vocabulary of a three year old

That's our little bookworm, who is most emphatically three fingers old, but growing up fast. He uses words like 'truly', 'indeed' and 'marvellous' as part of his everyday language so that you would think he actually reads all those books. No, he can't read yet - he just has an awesome ability to retain words and add them to his vocab, so that if you get to know him well enough (a privilege reserved for a select few) you are quite likely to be well entertained by his verbal abilities!

Oh, and the bean bag is one of four (another this size and two smaller) I made just before we moved. I didn't realise they would be quite so big, and I'd hoped they would be more 'pouffe-like' but the kids wouldn't have them any different.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mission accomplished

Above you see a snapshot of life here for the past three days, as documented by our faithful computer (hence the poor quality, back-to-front photo). A little obsessive perhaps, but I am pleased to report that, exceeding my initial expectations, the quilt is quilted AND the house is (at least superficially) housecleaned. Not a trace of the madness of 'easy living' left. Maybe Phil won't even suspect a thing when he returns in a few hours time. Or maybe he knows me too well. (And I'm not sure I would be able to explain away a newly quilted quilt anyway - he'll never fall for "it magically quilted itself while I faithfully did my housework" ...)
I should clarify about the quilting, though. Only the ditch-stitching is completed. I always quilt in two phases - first the ditch-stitching and then extra stitching to created pattern and texture (most often in the background areas of the quilt). Ideally the thread ends get buried between the phases but I don't always (OK, hardly ever) have the patience to do that before finishing phase two of the quilting.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do for the background quilting on this one, though. I'm hoping for a brainwave overnight.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pieced and layered, on with the quilting

The 'school' quilt is pieced! That's a major milestone. Now it's quilting time. This has timed rather nicely with Phil being overseas for a few days. My goal is to finish the 'ditch-stitching' (stitching over all the seam lines) before Phil gets back (for no particular reason other than that I like to work to goals). So the kids and I are in easy mode - easy meals (i.e. little cooking), easy housekeeping (i.e. no cleaning), easy routine (i.e. sewing all day). That's something I can only live with for a few days, and only when I'm completely caught up in a project like this, but we'll enjoy it while it lasts!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Daniel helped me finish his bedroom blinds today. Let's just say I had no say in the matter. There is now an array of random pencil marks on the back of this blind, where he 'marked off' the eyelet positions with his (my) ruler.And he was also extremely determined (or stubborn) about cutting the cord too. If he had better scissor handling skills, we would have had many little cords to deal with...I don't know how I would have ever managed without his help! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Inside my head (no, this post is not as profound as that title makes out)

If the inside of my head looks and feels a bit like the above image, it is due to a combination of factors:
1) a nasty head cold
2) two days of working intensely on the pictured project
3) cabin fever due to 2)
4) trying very hard not to think about the leftover salted caramel and vanilla baked cheesecake in the fridge...
I also want to say another thankyou to everyone who takes the time to respond to this blog - in the comments, via email, or verbally! It is all valuable feedback and it's nice to know that people are reading and enjoying! Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Quilt progress

I'm not sure if I already mentioned that the 'school' quilt is a triptych - the first and third parts are pieced, and I've started the middle section.I love how those six children are engrossed in their work. I'm glad I was able to take photos of Aaron's class, as they are a very dedicated group. They hardly paid me any attention whenever I joined them for a photo session, so I was able to capture some good images of them all working hard. (Hannah's class, on the other hand, is quite a different story!)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How I make my quilts

My plan today included showing you further progress on my 'school' quilt, but I didn't get around to taking photos while there was still daylight. Instead, far too much time was spent doing battle with Blogger. We made a bit of headway this evening, so now I can tell you that at the top of my blog there is a new page titled 'How I Make My Quilts'. People often ask about my quilt making process, and this new page gives a general overview of the various steps involved - designing, cutting, piecing and quilting. Maybe one day when I'm not quite so mad at Blogger, I will upgrade the images to a larger size, but I'm afraid these smaller ones will have to do for now!
Please check it out, and do let me know if you don't understand what I have written!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SAQA Benefit Auction

Something I should have told you about ages ago already is the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) Benefit Auction, which begins 12 September 2011. The annual Benefit Auction is critical for raising funds for art quilt exhibitions and publications, and is also the perfect opportunity to get your hands on some beautiful quilt art! Each quilt is about 12 inches square, and donated by a SAQA member.

To find out more about the online auction, and to view the more-than-300 quilts, visit the SAQA website.

Monday, August 1, 2011

In Stitches

I'm pretty excited about the above image. It shows my article in the latest issue of In Stitches (4). Quilting Arts In Stitches is an emag published by Interweave, and I was very excited when editor Jane Davila invited me to write an article for issue 4 after seeing my work in Melbourne in April. I was asked to write about how I incorporate stitched 'hidden' images into my quilts. I like what the staff did with the text and images I sent them. I like the look and 'feel' of this magazine, and that it's full of inspiration and useful tips for anyone working with stitch. If you want to read the article(s), you can buy the emagazine here.