Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I've just returned from a Creative Fibre (spinners and weavers) retreat at Queenstown in Central Otago. The first two photos are of the Lindis Pass, a frequently snowed-in area. It has the most wonderful sculptural hills covered in tussock clumps, and sucha stark beauty that I adore. There is a lovely effect on these hills as clouds move overhead on a sunny day and cast moving shadows.
And this is the view (not very clear due to the trees) from the retreat camp. It's just across the lake from the town area. Queenstown is an internationally renown skiing area and tourist town, and one of the most expensive places in New Zealand to buy property, due to the limited land available and high demand for it. I haven't been here since 1999 (apart from a brief fling with a dyeing class when I stayed elsewhere) and the amount of construction and development, much of it hotels, motels, apartments and the like, is staggering. If you don't like skiing and snow sports, I've been told it's a loooooooong cold winter here. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

International Round Robin

I'm taking part in a small but international round robin through the surfacing email list. I received my first piece of half-yard fabric from Wil in Holland, which was dyed in light blue and green.. Here's what I did to it: First step was to stretch it onto a plastic surface. Then I stencilled a leaf design (cut from cardboard) and also painted some other designs using corn dextrin as a resist. As it dries, it pulls the fabric in so I didn't paint it too much. In this photo it's still wet.
When the resist dried, I painted the centres of the circles and the inside leaves with thickened turquoise dye. I also later put some random turquoise brush strokes on plain parts of the fabric.
Then I covered the whole piece with a wash of Brilliant Blue. The fabric cannot be immersed to overdye it as the corn dextrin is water soluable. I only discovered that after painting it on - I haven't used it before! In the last photo, it's been washed and dried and ironed. The effect is quite subtle, though you can clearly see what I've done.

Now to package it off to Von, who is next on the list. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 23, 2006

Rust Companions

Yes, I've had a busy creative weekend - for a change! Of course I didn't get all the other stuff done but still......go with the flow when it's there. These are half-metre pieces I've dyed in browns, oranges and general earthy shades to go with the rust dyed pieces. While the rust dyes are a particular shade of rust and so are different from everything else, I need to be able to blend them with other fabric. If necessary, I can apply a light wash of Procion dyes to the rust dyes to match these fabrics better. Watch this space! Posted by Picasa

Labour Day

Today is Labour Day in New Zealand, a public holiday that celebrates workers being granted the 40 hour week. This is not so significant when you're self-employed. For those who wonder if I actually do any ordinary dyeing, here's samples of some new dye mixes that I blended yesterday. Pretty, huh?
Thanks to all those who commented on my first attempts at rust dyeing. I am still very inspired by the possibilities of this. I now have some small farm implements like these big cogs and the plough head shown in these two pieces of fabric. All I need is some uninterrupted time
with no other commitments.......wait, don't we ALL want that? I'm off to a spinners, weavers and dyers retreat this coming weekend, so I've had the brilliant idea of taking the rust pieces (there are more underway) and my sewing machine with me. Ah, the bliss of doing creative stuff for a whole two days!! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I don't know why the poodles tend to lie in mirror image fashion (I've posted an earlier photo of them lying head-to-head that way) but can only assume it's because they're litter mates and were in the womb together. The photos aren't posed at all. Honestly. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Spring pinks

Some pink flowers from my garden - clockwise rfom upper left - paeony, rhodohypoxis, tropical rhododendron and valerian. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Rust 2

This is my 2nd attempt, which I like better than the first ones. It's more planned, with the tyre iron wrapped in the middle, and nails laid out in a design.

My boss (of my day job) has brought me in some rusty stuff from his shed, including some large cogs. I've bought some more vinegar, so I'll see how those cogs turn out. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rust dyeing

Using nails (above) and a tyre iron and bolts (below) with a few scattered nails.
These are interesting pieces, that I think will look best made into small art works. The original fabrics are fat quarters (square quarter metre). Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 13, 2006

Now for the arty bit

In the Opera House auction, I bought a Palm for a very low price to use at work. It's one of those cunning things that you record appointments in and use as an organizer, and you can even write on the screen with a stylus. It comes with a cradle that you sit it in alongside your computer, and all the information transfers from one to the other. Because I want to carry it about with me, and because my new cellphone is SO tiny that I can't find it in my bag ( and also to stop it being knocked around with all the other detritus you find in a woman's bag), I decided to make matching cases for them. You can see the results above.
But here's the cunning part - I sewed a couple of buttons onto the Palm case and made holes in the top of the cellphone case, so that I could hook the two together. If a number of you are interested in the pattern, say so and I'll publish it. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I just had to share these photos of my new cellphone. I don't actually talk on cellphones much, I mainly use them for texting. The old one (lower left photo) went through a full wash and dry cycle a few months back, and for some unknown reason, wasn't totally happy with it. Neither was I, as its edges made pockmarks all through my new drier.

After switching itself off twice yesterday, losing its settings as it did, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and upgrade. The little blue Sagem is such a dinky girly phone. You can see how small it is compared to my (small sized) hand. Ain't technology wonderful? Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Moon and Mirror Magic

A full moon last night - this is the best my camera can do in capturing moonlight on the sea.
And here's my original design "Monet's Hexagons" (patterns available) reflected in the mirror on the hot water cupboard. You can also see, in the lower right hand corner, my crocheted Psychotic Tomato. No, really! That's an eyeball on the front of it. Every home should have one. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 02, 2006

Restoring the Opera House

It's a little known fact that Oamaru (pop. around 13,000) has an Opera House. No really, you can see a photo of it here. Not a soaring architectural wonder like the Sydney Opera House, but one of the magnificent old stone buildings for which Oamaru is famous.

The local Council wants to restore the building, formerly used as a cinema, but the cost to bring it to modern eathquake and other standards is huge- around $7 million. Because this would be a burden on ratepayers, the Council and community are fundraising to raise as much money as possible from other sources.

The current project is selling items on trademe, New Zealand's version of eBay (and only available to Australiand and New Zealand residents, sorry). I have chosen to live in a small community, and want to involve myself in it. Due to matters beyond my control (ahem!), I have not exactly done this yet even though I've been living here for almost a year. So I've donated the above lap quilt which I secretly love, but had no other suitable one available. It's mainly hand-dyed (by me), with cotton batting, and is fully reversible. After all, I can always make another.

Oh...and it's my birthday tomorrow. I've decided to stay at 50 until I reach 60. A chronological holding pattern, if you like. And I do. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Travelling Fabric

Here are the 2 pieces of fabric that I've dyed as part of a Round Robin with the Surfacing email list that I belong to ( and I know many of you readers do too). This fabric is destined to travel to the States and the Netherlands - more than I ever have! Posted by Picasa