Friday, January 9, 2009

Boy, it has been a long time since my last entry here. But then a lot has happened in that time. The real biggie was my father's unexpected death last July, which in retrospect took a lot of the wind out of my sails. Later in the year I had to have surgery, which although not major, took its toll on my very-much-less-than-perfect body too.

I finally finished their 60th anniversary crazy quilt, which of course my father never got to see, but Mother is very pleased to have it. It hangs in her entrance hall, so visitors to the house can't really fail to see it. She says they all exclaim at it, all in a very positive way. She herself, of course, isn't even the tiniest bit biased. This is not the greatest photograph - it is very difficult to take a good picture of a large-ish piece when you don't have the right equipment and fundamentally haven't a clue what you are doing.

Now it is 2009, where do the years go? I really must be more disciplined, decisive and dedicated.

I hope anyone who reads this likewise has some resolutions, and has a happy time carrying them out (or not - as the case may be).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


There has been some discussion on one of the lists recently about 'white on white', and although I haven't actually attempted actual white on white I have made several cream on cream things, starting with the 'Naming Day' dress I made first for Julia, my granddaughter. Now I am making a small lozenge-shaped quilt for my parents' 60th wedding anniversary, aka Diamond Anniversary.
This is the naked block (sorry about the background!), with two photos that I printed from their actual wedding photos onto silk and incorporated in the piecing. There is also lace, ribbon and braid. I will post another photo of the quilt, as it is now, which is with a lot of embroidery in shades of cream from milk coffee to almost white.
This is a combination that I love to use. It isn't very easy, as your colour range is quite restricted, but it looks fabulous when done - so elegant, subtle and restrained.

Monday, January 21, 2008


The big day came, December 1, 2007 when my son was to be married. All the guests were gussied up, but .... down came the rain, in torrents. We drove to the venue - a beautiful rose garden in the grounds of our first Parliament House, and were directed to a small gallery next door to where the reception was to be. However that was the only disappointment: the bride looked radiant (don't they always), the groom looked nervous (don't they always), the ceremony was lovely, the food was plentiful and fabulous, and a thoroughly good time was had by all.

Here is a photo of my husband and me with the bride and groom. I made the outfit I am wearing, from an Indian sari and French crepe. My darling husband shopped for both fabrics and did a wonderful job of the colour-matching. It comprises the jacket made from the sari, plus trousers and a top from the crepe.

Heaven only knows when or if I will ever wear it again, but still it was worth it for the day.

Friday, October 12, 2007

This is what my studio or cave as I affectionately call it used to look like. The reason it is called 'The Cave' is pretty obvious really - it is 11 metres long and only 2.5 metres wide. There is a little shower room at one end, a sink, a sewing bench with space for 3 machines and as you can see quite a bit of shelf space. Sadly it doesn't look quite like this these days. For one, the chairs for relaxing (yikes! what's that?) are gone, replaced by a desk for drawing and painting. For another, in accordance with well-accepted principles, the stash has grown .... and grown ... and been culled ... and grown .... and you get the picture. There has been a major tidying up campaign under way for the past few weeks, but it still doesn't look this good. I guess the message is try harder.

I have decided to continue with the City and Guilds course at Distant Stitch with Siân Martin, but I am going to change my reseach topic or theme, and go with something to do with architecture. This is a subject that I feel comfortable with - 5 years of study might have something to do with that, as well as a lifetime passion. At the moment I am still reading through the revised Module, but my brain is ticking over with ideas.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Lutradur and Lace

This was made in response to a challenge issued by a new e-zine 'Fibre&Stitch' - to make something out of Lutradur, lace and scrim. This is my response, using black Lutradur, various black laces and nappy/diaper liners which I painted gold and heat distressed. I added little gold highlights, plus some embroidery and beading.

I took too long to get the photo up to take part in the judging, but since I don't really care for peer judging that's no big deal for me.

Not sure yet what this will become - maybe part of a book/journal cover.

My studio is now reasonably tidy - at least enough that I can see my way around and do something. Waiting for me, with the clock ticking inexorably, are my Distant Stitch C&G work, plus an outfit to wear to my son's wedding on 1 December. My Dearly Beloved bought me a burgundy-with-gold-thread-embroidery sari a few months ago on one of his forays into the big city, and last week he went again with instructions to come home with something to match for pants and a longish tunic. The sari will then become a loose kimono-style jacket. He did exceptionally well (as usual), and I now have some burgundy French crepe. And I can't put the sewing off much longer.

I haven't yet worked out how to load more than one photo per post on this blog, so the other stuff will have to wait.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Comfort Dolls are done, and gone off to New Zealand for distribution. I would like to think that someone in one of our major (Australian) cities would have picked this up and run with it. Alas it was not to be.

My studio has been allowed to fall into a state of chaos. There is no other word for it. It's not dirty, just very untidy. I am not disciplined enough to put things away as soon as I have finished with it, so benchtops are absolutely covered with bits and pieces. I also accumulate rather more stash than I have storage capacity for. I guess this is a familiar lament to everyone, and I am very lucky to have a dedicated studio, yada, yada. Anyway I have been trying desperately over the past week to tidy up some - and I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Given that I can only work for at the most a couple of hours a day, you can understand why it is taking so long.

Next week hopefully will see me back at real work. I have just started a piece based on an image I saw on TV of the Canning Stock Route, but further work on it will be my reward for finishing the tidying operation.

Monday, September 3, 2007


A few weeks ago, I saw that someone - I believe it was Pat Winter - had begun a project in which people would make small textile dolls to be given to women in refuges and shelters. As it is usually the children who are thought of first in such situations, I was immediately inspired to make some dolls.
This one is 'Candy' and she is a Dotee Doll - thanks to Dot for designing such and expressive and easy to make little creature. I used some bright pink fleece, like you use for sweatshirts, felted the dark red heart and surrounded it with some interesting fibres. I used some long thin triangular offcuts of the fleece plus some more interesting fibres for her hair and white felt for her face which I embroidered and painted. Candy is finished with a couple of bead dangles instead of legs. I hope the recipient gets some comfort from her. I know I would have been over the moon had I even known that I wasn't the only one in this position, much less that I had sympathetic and empathetic sisters all over the world.

This one is Fauna - for some reason I felt compelled to give these little creatures names. She is based on a little Bendi doll. I painted her all over with peach/pink acrylic paint and followed up with a light sponging with gold paint. The skirt fabric I found in our local store (the one and only) and thought it was perfect if not quite the colour I had in mind. Nevermind, its prettiness won. When I got home I discovered that where it had been cut the stitching that holds it all together was coming undone and that several of the ribbons were hanging loose. Not to worry, I fixed the stitching so no more unravelling would happen and used some of the shed ribbon for her bodice. Making hair was problematic, but rose petals from solved the problem and she started to look like a woodland maiden. An Artchix face charm seemed to me to reinforce that women tend to put a mask on and cover up the unhappiness and violence in their lives and it looked better than the original face. A couple of fabric flowers 'gussied' her up a tad, and now I think she looks good.

The third doll is based on a pattern I have for a 'DamnIt Doll'. The originals of these were made rather crudely, without faces, hair or any other embellishments. The idea of them is summed up thus:
When your day has started wrong
And things go from bad to worse
Here is a Damn-it doll
To help lift the curse.

Take it gently by the leg
And find a place to slam it,
And as you knock the stuffing out
Shout damn it! Damn it!! DAMN IT!!!

I wouldn't actually recommend doing that with this one, but at least the sentiment is there. 'Lavender' is a soft little doll, made from four complementary pieces of fabric joined together diagonally. The back is plain. She has a purple glass heart - sparkling and beautiful but fragile too. You will also notice that her face - made of air-dry clay - has wrinkles and chips. These are deliberate, no-one has a perfect face!
There will undoubtedly be some more of these creatures emerging from my 'house', and I really hope that the recipients like them, and that they understand that a great deal of love and sympathy comes with them.