Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Beauty in Everyday Things

I wish I could take wonderful photos like this and others that you can see here.
Nothing much creative happening at present. I'm busy ordering new dyes and making swatches, both fabric and wool, for the new colours I already have so I can put them in my customer newsletter.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Wandering Around the World while I stay at home

Yes, once again my fabric has been wandering around the world. This piece has gone to Holland and the United States, where Wil and Von respectively have stamped and painted on the dyed background as part of a Round Robin that some of us from the Surfacing list did.

This is the "staying at home" bit - the view out over the harbour this morning before the sun came up.

I love living by the sea because I never get tired of looking at it.

And while I've been staying at home, here's the finished Moebius scarf.

The 70% merino wool was lovely to knit and it feels great on. This scarf isn't big enough to wear around my shoulders but that's ok - I made it with just one 50 gram ball.

I think I'll knit another Moebius in a larger size to wear as a wrap. Maybe in a kacy pattern, as these look great.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What the.........??????

I think I've bemoaned this fact before - New Zealand is a country of 4 million people (and happily, 3 million of those live on the OTHER island from me) and 44 million sheep... yet we are poorly served for woollen yarns compared to overseas. Also for knitting related accessories.

One gem I haven't seen here, but is now My Preciousssss is a set of Denise interchangeable needles. Not cheap, but essentially just about every size of knitting needle you could want in one kit. Use 'em straight, use 'em circular....they just snap together in an ingenious way. They also act as cable needles and stitch holders.

I bought them in order to make Moebius scarves. Remember the Moebius strips you made at school? The things with the twist which really only have 1 side? Well, Cat Bordhi has invented a way to knit them in one piece (ie without just knitting a rectangle and joining the ends with a twist.

Here's a partly completed one, made with 70% merino wool which is sooooooo soft - I can't wait to finish it.
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Monday, February 19, 2007

Weekend work

Well, I guess to some people it's "playing" but really, it's work. One photo showa some colour gradations that I made to make a sample quilt for a class I'm working on. I need some more colours though, so I'm still thinking about what to add to the mix.

The other photo is some more Blended fabric I made yesterday. I love love love this stuff! I just wish I could work out how to market it so people buy it!
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Sunday, February 18, 2007

The joys of summer

Here are a couple of photo collages of my garden.

The top right-hand photo with the deck railing and house behind it that looks like nothing much is flowering is there for a slightly different reason. It may not be obvious, but this is a "mixed" border that I've planted. Mixed in the sense that, just within the photgraphed bit, it includes (from left to right) some red onions, some stripey green tomatoes (not fruiting yet), sweet peas which are flowering well and picked daily for at home and at work, white gladioli, purple gladioli, marigolds (wild), pink valerian (wild), orange tomatoes (not fruiting yet), alyssum (wild), ornamental berry plants(wild) and strawberries.

Today is a beautiful summer's day, the sort we haven't been getting, as most of the summer weather so far has been disappointing. I've walked the dogs for an hour, so done my required exercise for the day. Then I sat on the deck in the sun eating rock melon (cantaloupe) and watermelon, and drinking coffee. Life is good.
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Friday, February 16, 2007

New Toy

I have just received this today, and can't wait to play with it! I saw a review of it in a Quilting Arts magazine, and decided that this was a multi-faceted tool that I must have.

It's a heating tool with 7 different "ends" that can press, emboss velvet, fuse threads, cut stencils, do something with bias tape for stained glass designs, stamp a 9-patch design, and amazingly enough - transfer laser images.

Of course, I think the first thing I'll have to do is find an adaptor that allows me to use it - it has a voltage of 120 watts and here in NZ we use 240 watts. Off to the hardware store.
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Sunday, February 11, 2007


Here are the hanks all reskeined and looking pretty. These are for my own use in a garment, so have many of the colours in common.

Also pictured is a ball of the original yarn, which is dark cream with brown flecks.
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What I did yesterday

How's that for a snappy eyecatching headline? Oh well, I can't be creative about everything!

Here's 10 skeins of wool that I dyed yesterday a la Koigu style. Each skein has 8 colours. This shows the skeins just as they were painted - I'll post another photo of them when I've reskeined them.
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Friday, February 09, 2007

A Feast of Weekend Reading

These treasures appeared in my mailbox this morning, the result of my Evil Twin (ahem!) bending the plastic (translation: using the credit card)at over Christmas. Well, I have to blame someone for my excesses!

While the internet is wonderful and I spend a lot of time online, nothing will replace books. I don't buy novels, only books on the topics that interest me, namely dyeing, surface design, knitting, and most recently, Victorian clothing. I can't resist the sight of wonderful dyed yarns and fabrics, and to be able to drool over these whenever and wherever I want can't be replaced by looking at a screen.
That's not to say that I only read reference books! I've always been a prolific reader, and normally read 2 to 3 books a week. I love murder mysteries - not for the blood and gore, but because I find the problem solving so appealing - so I always get a few of these from the library; and I love travel books. I've never actually BEEN anywhere but I'm a great armchair traveller.

What kind of books do YOU love?
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Deep Purple

Gladioli are often snubbed as a beautiful flower, maybe because they were once only available in pastels, and maybe because of Dame Edna Everage (Aussie and NZ readers will know of whom I speak!)

However, they now come in such fabulous colours, like this. I also have some in a lovely lavender shade, and another in derk cerise. This deep purple seems to be the most prolific though.

I hope it brightens up the day for those blog readers whose days are filled with snow and freezing temperatures.
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dark Side of the Moon

I admit it. I'm a big fan of Pink Floyd. As well as loving their music, I think their song titles are great too. I've been thinking for a while about interpreting some of them as quilts.

Here's my first one - Dark Side of the Moon.
These are just squares at this stage and yet to be sewn together. It will be 48" square without borders.

Most of the background fabric comes from one single piece of dyed fabric, as do most of the moons from another. These two pieces of fabric came out with such wonderful colours that I wanted to use them by themselves, though there are a few bits of other fabric in there to make up the numbers.
Click on the photo for a closer look.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Pastel heaven

Here in the southern hemisphere, comments are often made on our vibrant use of colour, due, no doubt, to the harsh quality of our light and considerable quantities of ultraviolet.

However, there are times when we crave for pastels. Below are a pile of fat quarters that I've made this weekend, in very subtle pastel shades. Sorry about the rather fuzzy photo. This lot is called "Aurora" after the southern lights of the same name. OK, you have these in the north as well, but these are OUR ones.

I've also made another smaller set called "Monet's Garden" which I really love. Click on the photo for more detail and to see how the shades intermingle.

I have been very influenced by the Impressionist painters as a gardener, and just LOVE the sorts of gardens they produced.

This fabric has actually been double-dyed. I blended all this fabric up yesterday, and then when I washde it, I found all the pink, brown and purple had disappeared. This explained why some of my students expereienced "washout" during Symposium - I thought it must have been the soda ash, but I have now traced the problem to

fuchsia dye that I had bought from another supplier here in NZ. I normally import all my dyes, but I had stocked up with some of the basic colours locally to ensure that I had sufficient for my classes. Whew! I'm glad that was solved, as in class, I assumed I had made a stuff-up which wasn't a good look. I've let all those in the classes who gave me their email addresses know.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Warning - gratuitous cute animal photo

This is my older cat, Seven, sitting in the front garden this morning. She was indeed the seventh cat in the household when I got her, but now I have only her and her daughter Grizabella. They are Manx cats which have no tails.

It's always amused me to have people say things like" I see you have those Minx cats" or "Are those Lynx cats?"

Manx are really interesting. Those with the strong Manx personality like Seven behave more like dogs than cats. They are also very athletic and are excellent climbers, which shows that tails are really there for decoration more than for balance or support.
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

More Bondage Fabric

I am thoroughly enjoying this exercise of folding and dyeing, then refolding and applying another colour, and so on. Here's some half-metre pieces I did last night, using Turkey Red, Golden Yellow and Navy. All 3 pieces have these colours on, but with different strengths of red and navy.

What shall I do with them now????? is the question.

It's a lovely day here for a change - this summer has been crap so far. Maybe February is going to be the good month we've been hoping for. I left work (the day job) before 10am as it was just too lovely to waste today being indoors. I'm not paid by the hour, I might add, so I can work whatever hours I choose.
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