Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bondage Fabric

This fabric doesn't actually have any kinky overtones - I called it this because I wrapped it and pegged all its edges into a restrained bundle to dye it.

The results were not what I had planned, nothing like what I was trying to do actually, but I'm quite fascinated by the colours and designs that have appeared.

Because the fabric was folded and ironed into a rectangle, the crease lines are clearly visible, and the designs are mainly symmetrical.

It's hard to see from the photos but one end is a very rich purple and brown. I applied the colours with quite an interval between them, which has added to the depth.

I think I'll do more of this.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Give me your thoughts!

Blogger is seriously annoying me - I have posted this several times now. The last time I managed to get it published, but it lost the photos. More than once, I have definitely hit "Publish" and it's saved them as Drafts instead. Grrrr!
These photos are from the Tutor's Exhibition. Firstly, part of Gloria Loughman's wonderful (and huge!) quilt that I first saw at New Plymouth in 2001. This is a vibrant and complex quilt, and I don't get tired of looking at it. Then Jane Sassaman's exotic butterflies - again, this is just a part of the whole quilt. Lastly, Priscilla Bianchi's sample quilt for her class on working with striped fabric. A very simple design but it looks wonderful.

I am simply bursting with creative ideas after being at Symposium - I guess it's a result of being around so many creative people. I am not getting inspiration from the other quilters' work, however, but for the particular ways in which I want to work.

So tell me (use the Comments section at the end of this post) - do YOU get inspired like this, by other creative people? Do you make use of that creative energy?

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Today I felt like making some fabric, so I did! This is one of the joys of living alone and being able to do what I please.

Here are the results on the line. The mainly blue and brown pieces are for my own use, while the others are new pieces for my "Blended" range.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Third Time Lucky?

Blogger has managed to eat my first two attempts. I notice that a lot of bloggers are having similar problems.

These are some quilts I liked from the main exhibition. The first one won a prize but not the others. I guess discharge just isn't mainstream enough yet.

I was talking to Bonnie McCaffery, who was also a tutor, about how what I made was different from what most other quilters here in New Zealand do, and that my work would never win a Viewers' Choice award because it wasn't cutesie-pie, or anything that people looked at and said "Oh, isn't that wonderful!". So we talked a bit about that, and she agreed with me that I should be making what my heart tells me to make, and not what I think other people might like.

Which is just as well, as that's exactly what I do. I know my work will probably never win awards, but that's not why I make it.

Clare Plug has kindly supplied me with the names of the creators of these works, so that I might attribute them. The first is Barbara McQuarrie's "the Power of Nine" which won a Merit Award for Best Contemporary Quilt under 1.5m. The second is by Catherine McDonald; and the third one is by Diane Southey, convenor of the Quilt Symposium.
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Friday, January 26, 2007

Out of focus Friday

While at the Symposium, I whizzed quickly around the main exhibition one lunch break taking photos of the work that I liked - consequently, my rushed visit is reflected in some of the photos (like the second one) being somewhat out of focus.

The first photo is a couple of entries in a "Think Outside the Square" challenge, where the quilts were not allowed to be square and needed to be different in other ways too - the oval one on the left is actually made of coffee filters. I thought these two looked very appealing together.

The tumbling blocks quilt, while a traditional design (and one that I've always loved), won a Merit Award for Best Use of Colour and is by Gwen Wanigasekera of New Zealand. Gwen is a well-known quilter and was also a tutor at Symposium.

More photos to come!
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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hello from Symposium

Just a quick blog on the hotel computer. It's Day 4 of teaching, so one dyeing class and one quilting class to go. The Basic Dyeing and Surface Design classes are over, and apart from a couple of "hiccups", the students seem to be happy with what they've done. The "hiccups" threatened to make yesterday start badly but I didn't panic, apologised for what apparently was my stuff-up and made sure it didn't happen again. Then we went on to do activities the students really enjoyed so the day ended well. And the sun shone in the afternoon, so we were able to do sunprints. More when i get home!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hi ho, hi ho.....'s off to Symposium I go. I fly out early tomorrow morning, so I won't be blogging for a week. Yes, I'll be taking photos so you can see what all the fuss is about.

Seeing as y'all seem to like my new fabric, here's a quilt top I'm putting together made of it. Yes, I know I said I wouldn't make another bed quilt ever again, but this one will be for me, not someone else. I love the look of stained glass it has where you can see the sun shining from behind and accenting the seams (it's hanging on the clothesline in the photo).

The second photo is some more wool I've hand painted this week using new colours from proChem (new to me, that is).
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Feast on this

Here are some of the fat quarters of my new range of fabric that I'm taking to sell at the quilting symposium. I call this range "Blended", because I blend the colours by hand. (Click on the photo to see more detail).

Yesterday I sent 7 boxes (yes, 7!!!) by courier to the hotel. These contain most of my dyes, fabric and equipment. It feels good to have so much of what I had to do beforehand sorted. Today, I think I'll paint some wool.
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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Where I shamelessly display past work

....because I'm too busy getting ready for the impending quilt symposium to make anything new.

The unnamed Pacific-inspired wallhanging was done at a class, back in the days when I did classes. It's about 4 feet long and hangs on the wall in the dining room.

"Dolphin Dreaming" hangs in the hall between the bathroom and toilet.

The designer handbags are sitting (slightly unfinished) on the oak cabinet in the hall outside my bedroom.
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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A bit more of this....

Here is the first of my hand dyed socks. This one fits me perfectly. You can see that I added in another colour on the foot as I didn't think the single ball of wool would be enough.

Also I am making my son's girlfriend one of my hats. The colour is a bit hard to see but it's a lovely violet purple. This one will have cables.

Thanks to all of you who have commented lately on my quilts - I really appreciate your feedback.
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Sunday, January 07, 2007


This is the sample for the one quilting class I am teaching at Symposium. It's an original design, a wallhanging featuring hand-dyed (what else?) and marbled fabric, with "exploded" applique shapes.

My sample quilt is called "Cosmic Refraction" and is quilted with heavy metallic thread. I made this some years ago, before I was confident about free motion quilting, so the quilting is all done with straight and slightly curved lines.

All the pieces in this quilt are rectangles - don't ask me why I made them that way! Most are only slightly rectangular. Because there's too much margin for error when teaching it as a design, I've resized the pieces to be mainly squares.
This is one of my favourite wallhangings, and hangs in my living room.
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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Together at last

Sorry about the skewed photo, I find it really hard to photograph these so they look square (well, rectangular).

Despite all my problems with tension, I have finished the quilting on my diptych, apart from a couple of minor adjustments that I'll make where an appliqued piece is not sitting down enough ("Sit! Stay!"). Generally, I'm pleased with the results. I'm also very pleased I'm not exhibiting a bed quilt - it's taken me several days on and off to complete these two - the larger one is only 27" by 23", and the smaller one 29" by 18". That one, incidentally, is sized according to the Golden Ratio - the aesthetically pleasing proportion that abounds in nature and the human form, as well as being widely used in art and architecture.

Now to bind them, and then onto the next task.
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Friday, January 05, 2007

!@#$%^&* and quilt du jour

I finished the first Otago quilt using my Janome 6500P, as the Pfaff tension problem is one I've had before and will require repairing.

The Janome and I were going just fine until last evening, when I started having tension problems with it (of a different kind). I have done most of the second Otago quilt (click on the photo for more detail - some of the quilting designs are the same as the first, but others are different). My shells in the blue section are not coming out how I want, and I've already wasted time this morning frogging.

I think I shall change the thread, and quilt the top section, and see if that will work ok. I've already changed the needle, so it's not that. When I sew on my sample, it comes out fine so I'm not sure quite what the problem is.
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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Quilt Du Jour

Here is the first of the pair of quilts that I'll be taking with me to the National Quilting Symposium (held every 2 years) in just over a fortnight. These will be hung in the Tutor's Exhibition. I'm very excited and nervous about teaching there, as this is THE big event in the quilting calendar in New Zealand, and I know that some of the quilters in my classes are coming from Australia, the UK and USA.

My Pfaff has suddenly developed a tension problem, with only the "sky" part of the quilt left to do. I might leave it for today, as the later in the day that I sew, the more mistakes I make, being a morning person.

The quilts represent the landscape of Otago, the region I now live in. The fabrics in this one are painted, as opposed to dyed, and the appliqued animals are all found here - seals, penguins, lizards and gulls. Each part of the landscape is quilted with a different design.

Click on the photo for a larger version which will show the quilting detail.
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Eat my Blogs

No, that's not an instruction. it's what Blogegr has been doing to the last couple of posts I've attempted to put on here.

Summer is finally making an appearance. Here's a glimpse of my front garden, a wee oasis surrounded by a sea of ugly concrete.

And here's what my back yard looks like on a sunny Oamaru day.

I have indeed made inroads into my free motion quilting, as promised, and will post the final results in the next day or so.
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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Warning - High Fiber Content

The purple wool has indeed dyed up beautifully - here it is, dry and reskeined.

Today I may actually do some quilting.
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Monday, January 01, 2007

The Year of the Ankle is over!

Don't worry, I'm not about to assign the years of my life to various body parts. But the Saga of the Broken Ankle, which started last January, coloured the events of 2006. I found myself going down different paths from the ones I'd anticipated. I wish I could say that
it's all been wonderful, but it hasn't. There have been some really good parts and some totally crappy ones, with lots of so-so bits inbetween. But that's Life, isn't it?

And despite the crappy bits (which are still happening), I am able to be thankful for my lovely children, who have grown into adults whom I really like, and would like even if they weren't related to me; my family who are always there to help when I need it; and the continuing kindness and support of my friends, most of whom don't live anywhere near me as I kept moving away. I'm also grateful for my blogging community, whom I haven't met in person, but I feel like I know you all anyway. Keep commenting! I love it.

I have dubbed 2007 "The Year of the Wool", as this will be my big focus. To start as I mean to go on, I've dyed some wool/mohair blend that I bought at the Op Shop. It was a pale grey to start with, and is now four shades of purple with gold highlights.
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