Monday, March 31, 2008

Back to basics

This has been a busy weekend, but not a creative one. I spoke to the Canterbury Patchwork & Quilting Guild on Saturday afternoon - it was the AGM, traditionally a fairly dull meeting but I'm sure my talk, entitled "From Naked Men to Rust" enlivened the proceedings somewhat. Ahem. The theme of the talk was "moving outside your comfort zone" and I illustrated with my work over the past 3 years, almost all of which is uncompleted and largely experimental. They can't have been TOO horrified, as they later asked me to be a judge at their show in August.

After packing my dye orders on Sunday, I started to get everything together for the 2009 Quilting Symposium Committee, as they need to print their class booklet 12 months out. So above is the photo I'm using for the "Basic Dyeing Class" - a set of colour gradations.
This set of pieces is for "Beyond The Basics" - hmm, could have used some more ironing. Damn. It was hard to find suitable fabric to illustrate these classes, as I don't tend to dye this way any more. All the photos I had on hand, and from last Symposium, were too small, so I needed to produce more as well as write a tutor profile and class information.
This is the original wallhanging that I will teach again. This was a lovely relaxing class to teach on the last day after 4 hectic days of dyeing. I loved seeing what the class came up with last time.
And this is the sample for the "Surface Design" class which is 2 days long and very full on.

Another chore out of the way! I would love to have more time to develop other classes, but this is going to be a tough year, what with having to put so much energy and time into my other business (the one that earns the money, and owes the money as well).

Such is life.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Promises, promises

As promised, here's some other things I've been working on. Here is a "half" piece of painted duoprint which I have done some stitching on - click on the photo for a closer look.
Over Easter, I started this cardigan which I think is lovely. The yarn is 50% Tencel and 50% acrylic - I wouldn't normally ever knit acrylic, but I had heard the Tencel was good to knit with, so I wanted to try it. Plus it was cheap at The Warehouse! It is indeed a lovely smooth yarn - the colour is charcoal (deep grey), not black as it looks in the photo.
And now completed is this brushed wool wrap cardigan - it's a loose-fitting lacy design, and I have adapted my version from a more or less sleeveless summer pattern, by adding extra sleeve stitches, then picking up and knitting long rib cuffs and a rib edging all the way around. Wool from the local Salvation Army Op Shop, around $10 cost.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Painted Duoprints

Click on the photos for a larger version, where you can see the colours more clearly.

Here are some "Before" and "After" shots of my recent monoprints. Each piece was monoprinted twice with dye, so I call them "Duoprints". This series came out quite different from the earlier ones I did last month - they had large areas of dye and large areas of white space, and I painted the white space in blocks of colour.

This time, the dye separated much more into small spots, and I swirled it around a lot on the plastic, so these prints have a lot more movement. I decided to paint that movement.

While these are only small pieces of fabric, around 11" by 15", it has taken me hours to paint them.

Paints don't act the same way as dyes when you mix them, but I blended most of the colours I've used, as I wanted the background dye to be visible, not obscured. Also, I wanted all the colours to be muted.

The colours are fairly subtle, in keeping with the dyes I used.

Question is - what do I do with them now? Frame them as completed works? Sandwich them and stitch them? Cut them up and make things from them?

Your suggestions are welcomed.

Flour Resist - the process

This was the original fabric with flour paste, and designs drawn in it. I allowed the paste to dry.
This time, I painted over the dried resist with fabric paints, rather than dye. I divided it in two, and coloured each half.
Here's the finished sample. A lot more of the brass colour penetrated the resist, and the drawn lines are less obvious.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


This is from the latest edition of Knitty, a fabulous (free) online knitting magazine which I adore for its fresh original designs.
I have a bit of a thing for hand knitted socks - the modern kind, not what your great Auntie Edna might have knitted you in 1960. Unfortunately, my short attention span flags after getting one sock done so I haven't ACTUALLY managed to produce a pair yet. Maybe this winter, as I enjoy all that lovely firewood!
Anyway.....the latest edition of Knitty (spring 2008, they are upside down to me) features this delicious sock made from hand painted wool (what else?) and wee mitred squares out of "Knits from a Painter's Palette" which I have.
I may have to make this sometime. Just because.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pictures of Autumn

A pretty pink salvia.....
...Helenium in flower. That fence behind is 2 metres (6 ft) high.
....Colchicum (Autumn crocus). today was cloudy so the flowers didn't open at all
.....and the firewood! There is 9 cubic metres here, enough to keep me plenty warm all winter.

And there IS creative content coming this space for more monoprints, more flour resist and some completed knitting.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


For those readers who don't come from Australia or New Zealand, you may have been puzzled by my reference to Jaffas in the "I am from..." post.

Jaffas are a yummy chocolate sweet coated with an orange flavoured exterior (but are red). See this reference in Wikipedia
As an aside - not to be confused with Jafas. This is what people from Auckland are often known as in other parts of New Zealand -it stands for Just Another F***ing Aucklander. Auckland is the biggest city, with 25% of NZ's population, and some of the yuppies who live there don't endear themselves to Heartland NZ with their attitudes and ways. I come from Auckland, incidentally, but I'm exempt as I choose to live elsewhere.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Creative Black Hole.......

.....which I am filling with a sunrise photo. I didn't do any artwork at the weekend, only knitting. Now I feel deprived, and wonder if I haven't taken too much on.

Friday, March 07, 2008

I am from...

I have seen these on several sites (like Susie Monday's ,and Kirsty Duncan's) and love them. These sites go into more detail about where this came from. I just about cried after reading Kirsty's, as she is a transplanted Kiwi in Australia, and I have a huge capacity for emotion about my country. Annnnnnnnyway.....I decided to write my own, so here goes:

I am from a state house, from school milk and Sunday night comedy programmes on the radio.

I am from strong working-class women, who toiled endlessly to feed and clothe their families, who grew gardens from cuttings and gifted plants, who knitted and sewed and made do.

I am from Irish farmers who fled to Scotland during the potato famine, and ancestors who emigrated for a better life in the colonies.

I am from the pointsettia that grew by the back door, the peas that my grandmother grew that we had to shell before eating, the freesias that grew along the front path, and the mushrooms that sometimes grew in a fairy ring on the back lawn.

I am from rolling Jaffas down the aisles at the pictures (you have to be a Kiwi to understand that) and standing up for "God Save the Queen".

I am from the long bus trips up north to visit my grandparents which were the only holidays we had. I'm from the estuary where we caught eels, carrying blackberries wrapped up in my cardigan, cycling around with my brother, and climbing trees.

I am from austere Presbyterians who eschewed extravagance. I am from Auckland, where my throat still catches when I see One Tree Hill, now without its tree. I am from Christmas in summer, the fountain at Mission Bay, wee pots of homemade jam from the church fair, and Rangitoto Island.

I am from a school where we wore hats, ties and gloves, and heard the broadcast of man landing on the moon in German class.

These are the things of my childhood that have shaped my life.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hot stuff

I have just received this book "Hot Textiles - Inspiration and techniques with heat tools" from Amazon. I haven't been able to look through it yet as I'm at work. Blogging at work? Shame! But at least I don't have to worry about the boss catching me....I AM the boss, for those not familiar with the blog. Also the tea lady, file clerk, telephonist and every other role imaginable, seeing as it's a one-person business.

The down side of having to work my butt off fulltime in my day job is that the creative stuff is pretty much confined to weekends. Sometimes I have to make calls or visit clients in the evenings, or else I may have to do stuff on my other business (Tillia Dyes). But I can't complain. Well, I can, but who's taking any notice? And I guess I don't have much to complain about all things considered.

I'm reading The Secret at present and while I don't think it's the answer to everything (just way too many holes in it), we all could spend more time being grateful for what we have, and thinking positive thoughts. Those things I fully support.

Have you read (or watched) The Secret? What do you think about it?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Dust Never Sleeps

That is today's philosophical comment. Which has nothing to do with the rest of the post, but is more a reflection of the state of my house.

I have been tagged by Valeri and earlier on by someone else (sorry, too rushed to go back and look). Now I have in fact done both those memes before, so I am going to take blogistic licence here and tell you ONE thing about me that most people don't know.

I am incredibly uncoordinated. As in clumsy.

I can't dance. I can't swim. And I am totally unable to follow the likes of an aerobics or yoga instructor because I mix up right and left.

I spill things a lot. I break crockery and glasses a lot. I use mass produced dinnersets for this reason, and buy several of the bone china mugs I like at a time.

Having read a bit about this sort of thing recently, I think I have a mild form of dyslexia. Not the reading/writing dyslexia most people have heard of. I read prolifically, and I'm an articulate speaker. No, there are other horses in the dyslexia stable, and every dyslexic has some variety of symptoms, and with differing degrees of seriousness. When I was a child, dyslexia was unheard of. Anyway, I was good at school. It was only in other stuff that I was hopeless. My mother loved dancing and swimming, and no doubt wonders how she produced such an awkward daughter who can do neither. And so never goes on a dance floor, and seldom enters the water.

Today, I opened a cupboard to get a cloth. A container fell out and as I retrieved it, I knocked over 2 bottles of dye. These had squirt tops on them, so as they fell, they squirted dye onto my jeans, the kitchen mat and the cupboard doors. I would like to say this is unusual but it isn't.

I am not feeling sorry for myself here, so I hope it doesn't come across that way. I have long ago accepted my limitations, which is why I immerse myself in the things I CAN do. And today's thing is some more flour resist. Here's a photo of a pattern I'm trying out, plus I've also done a plain piece and re-floured one of the pieces I did before but wasn't happy with. As it's very windy, I won't do more - I'll paint the monoprints until the flour pieces dry and I can apply dye to them.