Sunday, February 26, 2006

Last post for Sunday

The start of some fabric postcards, and sourdough baguettes fresh out of the oven.

Taniwha Part 2

I am trying to achieve something today, so I've cut out and fused my taniwha. I hope these don't look too much like critters out of Ghostbusters; I am trying to make them look like authentic monsters. Faithful readers may have noticed that nothing is actually getting COMPLETED. My broken ankle is my sewing foot, and in New Zealand, also my driving foot. Which is why I'm blogging so much - I am effectively housebound. I think I'll start making some fabric postcards, as these won't take a lot of sewing. Anyone on the other side of world (ie most of you) care to exchange these with me?


The dogs aren't the only household pets. I also have 2 Manx cats. Here is Seven (yes, once upon a time, she WAS the 7th cat), who is unusually a ginger female. Colour in cats is sex-linked, so ginger cats are normally only males. She is a "stumpie", with just a little bit of tail. And here is her daughter Grizabella, who is a long-haired tortoiseshell with no tail at all (a "rumpie"). Many people think a cat's tail is used for balance, and that Manx cats must be clumsy but the opposite is true. These cats are very agile and are amazing climbers. I've always been amused by the comments of people seeing them for the first time - apart from being often asked what happened to their tails from people who think they've lost them in an accident, they've been referred to as "lynx" cats, or even funnier, as "minx" cats.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

In the Lair of the Taniwha

Taniwha are mythical Maori creatures, the New Zealand equivalent of dragons. I am quite entranced by them, being a fragon person, so I've decided to put some in a quilt. They are shown in various different ways. The shapes I have adopted are from both artistic interpretations and bone carvings. I have made them all two-toned, denoting their otherwordly status, in smoky sultry colours. Accordingly, I needed a suitable background fabric but had nothing suitable. Taniwha live in water, so I wanted something with deep mysterious blues and purples, with some spooky black bits. I took the following very dull piece of dyed fabric:
Note the useful painting board, kindly made for me by Kathryn and her husband Ken. Then I spritzed it with water and applied various paints. The result (still wet) :

A far more suitable taniwha lair. It will dry lighter, but if it's too light, I'll darken it up. Tomorrow, I should be able to start placing the taniwha around.

Later: I didn't like the yellowish colour as it dried so I darkened it, but don't really like how it's turned out, so I did another from the same original piece of blue splodged fabric. Always hard to overpaint, it's not like dye. I like this one better -here's a taniwha trying it out for size.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday, Friday

Actually, all days are much the same to me at present. Not being able to drive is really a pain. I don't know yet how mobile I will be when the Otago Mini-symposium rolls around at Easter. I am hoping to meet Frieda Anderson there, although I missed out on getting into one of her classes. However, I am going to do a 3 day class with Els van Baarle on "Working with Wax".

I had to take a photo yesterday for an advertisement with Kathryn's help, because I fell over the previous day trying to photograph fabric while balancing on one leg. Fortunately I'm well-padded and I just bounce. This is just some of the basic fabric that I have in stock. My plans to dye up mountains of fabric have had to be put on hold until I'm more mobile.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

You know how....

....there are some days when the sun shines, your creativity flows in a satisfying way, and all is well with the world? This wasn't one of them. So here's some of my earlier (translation = completed) work.
This is called "There Are Flying Geese in the Circle of My Life". It was a result of a challenge at my quilt group to produce a Personality Quilt, and it was a first for me in several ways. It was my first "art" quilt , my first circular quilt, and my first original design (apart from the flying geese circle, which was courtesy of Caryl Bryer Fallert).

And here is my beloved "Monet's Hexagons", another original design available as a pattern or kit from this has been my best-selling pattern, particularly in Australia. Interestingly, this quilt features what I call "underdyes" - which I produced accidentally, and which provide a very soft colour that I can't reproduce dyeing the proper way.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Fusing fractals - Dragon's Teeth

I love fractals, and here's one that particularly appealed to me. If you're not familair with fractals, they're images generated by mathematical equations. Who knew at school that maths could be so beautiful? You can make them yourself - there are a number of free fractal generators that you can download. I decided to play with this, though I couldn't hope to reproduce the perfect curves or the exquisite luminous colouring, so I opted for an "interpretation" using simplified tracings of the shapes, with less contrast. I used hand dyes for the "teeth" and a commercial print to represent the complex centre area. Here's my fused result. Problem is, I have no idea what to do with it now.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Trojan Horses

I've been hit by 2 Trojan Horses in the past 24 hours. Norton detected and stopped Back Orifice (hey, I didn't name these!) yesterday, and this morning when I booted up, my settings had all gone haywire. I had downloaded an update to Adobe Reader last thing yesterday, and the Trojan must have come in on that - it's called Downloader. I found I had 4 bit colour (normal is at least 256 bit) and no option to change it! I activated System Restore, which sorted most of the settings out, and then Norton found Downloader and snuffed it. Phew.

Here's Otago 2 (see Otago 1 below, in painted fabric). This one is in hand dyes, and the cutouts feature moa (large extinct flightless birds), the head of a fossilised whale skeleton, and a taniwha (Maori dragon). I really like taniwha, and I'm thinking of making a quilt with a number of different taniwha shapes on it.

I couldn't resist posting this photo of the twins - they just lay like that themselves, honest!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Storm in a teapot

Thanks to all those who took the trouble to give me their views on the teapot issue. Generally you agreed that the cream one looked out of place, so I've replaced it with a blue one. I don't really have much floral fabric in my stash anymore, so the contrast fabric is actually the small cream floral painted blue. The picture is a bit fuzzy (do not adjust your eyes) but it's the values that matter here, and these colours fit in much better with the others.

Why did I use calico for the background ? (for American readers = muslin). Partly because it goes with everything, and also these patterns are aimed at beginners, who will inevitably have calico. Plus it keeps the cost down. Today I'm going to work on blanket stitching these (yes, by hand!) and I'll post photos of the next stage when I decide how to present them in the wallhanging (eg what sort of borders to have).

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Now for something completely different

While my focus is now on art quilts, I appreciate that these don't appeal to everyone. My plans for this year include moving into a retail space in the Historic Precinct (currently being renovated by the local Trust who own the stone buildings, and who encourage artisans and crafstpeople to work there). Many quilters here are traditional, so I want to have patterns available that will provide some bread-and-butter income. I love old china teapots, so I've drawn up these designs, which I'm making in 2 different styles as a wallhanging - one floral, the other funky. See what you think. The cream floral one looks too pale compared with the others. Maybe I could paint it?

And here is another from the quilts not now being submitted for exhibition - this is called "Otago 1" (Otago is the region I now live in). The fabric for this is all painted.

The little cutouts feature wildlife in this area - penguins, sea lion, albatross and lizard. I really like this quilt, which is still pinned up and unquilted.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

It seemed like a good idea at the time

I have changed my colours, but what a pain! Melody Johnson kindly copied my links for me, so I reinstated those ok, but lost all my webring buttons. I've got 2 back on but have to find the code for the 3rd one yet. And I'm still not happy with the colours, though I've managed to change the text colour.
Here's the first bread I've made since my accident - it's sourdough, and I've had the starter over two years now. I love this bread! And here is a great book I've just finished reading - it's about the history of paints, pigments and dyes. The author takes each colour in turn, and goes all over the world seeking today's versions. It's fascinating for anyone interested in colour. Did you know the colour of the universe was beige? Scientists have calculated that if all light in the universe could be put in a box, that's the colour it would be. They prefer to call it "cosmic latte" - I can see why.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Calling all Blog Goddesses...

I have a query - if I want to change the colour scheme on my blog (because I'm a dyer, that's why), am I going to lose all my links and webring buttons? The message I got when I went to change templates seemed to indicate that. Please let me know, any of you blog goddesses who have changed your colour schemes. Thanks.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Stitch du jour

Here's stage 2 of the book cover. I have always enjoyed doing blanket stitch. I don't know why - I find cross stitch boring, and blanket stitch is equally repetitive. However, the stitch that appeals most at the moment is herringbone, which I've sued to outline the leaf applique on this cover.

On a (blog)roll

Kathryn has growled at me for not posting every day, so I've taken this to heart. Here's a wee project I'm working on - it will become a quilted book cover for my brother's birthday next week. I know I don't have the proportions right for the background piece, so I will no doubt have to do some creative adjustments.

One amusing thing I didn't mention earlier about my trip to hospital - I had been clothesline dyeing the previous day, and not only were my arms liberally spotted with dye (a result of the wind getting up), but as usual, I was barefoot (it's summer here), and the soles of my feet were a delightful greeny-black colour from all the dye that had dripped onto the lawn. Every time a doctor looked at me and frowned, I had to explain that it was dye, and not bruising, gangrene or any other nasty thing. The red splotches on my arm looked interesting too. At least the doctors have remembered me when I've seen them again!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

No added misery required

Now that I'm not going to be able to enter my latest works in the Otago P&Q Show, I can reveal them to the world. Entries had to be inspired by items in collections in the Otago Museum. Here's "Eclipse 1", which was inspired by Pacific island tortoiseshell ornaments. It's still pinned and unquilted at this stage. I really like the way this has come out. It's square, it's just the photo that's on a bit of an angle.

Thanks to everyone who has wished me a speedy recovery. The ankle is healing but I've had a couple of other hiccups that I won't go into - suffice to say that they've made me miserable at a time when no added misery is needed.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Longing for fabric

Yes, folks, after 2 weeks of abstinence, I'm just itching to do stuff with fabric. I have a number of ideas for small projects, some with hand embroidery/stitching, that I wnat to explore, though I'll need my trusty friend Kathryn to help get me set up. My daughter put away all my fabric and my ironing board in the stock room, much of it up on the spare bed, and of course, I can't get at it. I am hooked on fusing (see the blog of my goddess Melody, who is such an inspiration) - to me, it's the technique I've been searching for that really appeals to the way I work.

I also want to work out how to get yarns (and rovings) into my quilts. I've seen knitting covered with sheers, then stitched and burned, but I'm not really a burning gal. Any good ideas? Let me know.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Racing.... but not racing

Here it is, my new racing cast. Unfortunately, I won't be racing on it for some time. The doctor took an x-ray in order to explain why not. Quite an impressive array of hardware inside, with 1 of the screws going from one side of my ankle to the other through both bones. I can expect to be not properly mobile for at least 12 weeks. AAARRRGGHHH!
This requires me to do some rethinking about what I can do and how I can spend my time. And, most of all, what I am going to do about my dye business in the meantime.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Transplants - only within the family

Fortunately, none of my family have ever required organ transplants - but we've been doing jeans transplants for years. My son Cass is almost 25 and left home 7 years ago to go to university (yes, he's still there! He's doing 2 degrees, Engineering and Architecture) but he still brings his jeans home for mending. Now it's a little-known fact, and one I don't broadcast, but I'm a good, nay proficient, jeans mender.

Harvesting the donor jeans is not difficult - I usually have some past their best. It's the recipient jeans that require work - firstly, they have to be removed from the owner, and then washed, before any transplant work can be undertaken. Today I've done 8 transplant patches, so that 2 pairs of Cass's jeans may live another day. Here's the "after" photo. You can't see all the patches as some are in the (ahem) buttocks region.

Not all the ragged bits require mending - apparently, you can't buy cool jeans these days that are not distressed. I'd be distressed about paying good money for clothes with rips and holes in them, so clearly I'm not cool.

That was my first sewing for 2 weeks!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Recovering my sanity

Thanks to everyone who wished me well as I recover from my very first broken and/or dislocated bones. Fortunately, my head has recovered from anaesthetic-affected mush, which is a big plus.

Obviously, I can't work as normal, so I'm enjoying having my son Cass and his girlfriend Hattie here for a few days. It's a holiday weekend here in New Zealand. However, some things still need to be done - here's a photo of some fabric for my Surface Design class at the NZ Quilting Symposium next January, which I need to get a hard copy of and send away. This was taken with my new Sony digital camera - the old Sony was damaged when I dropped it and will no longer open .

I really miss my quilting, and I'm trying to decide how best to use the next month or so before I can get around properly.