Monday, June 30, 2008

Jekyll & Hyde

I am a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde myself - by day, a mild-mannered financial adviser! By night.....Dye Woman!
But this isn't about me.

Several times a year, at great cost, these transform into:

...these! It's like having a whole new set of dogs.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


It's lunchtime Sunday and here is the completed top. It measures around 66 x 80 inches (170 x 204 cm for us metric folk). Now I'll give it a rest for the afternoon while I do other stuff.

Refugee Quilt - Sunday morning

This is the 9 fabric version of this pattern. Cut your fabric into 4 inch strips (there will be 4 strips of each colour) , arrange in a pleasing sequence, and sew together. Press. Then sew together to form a tube.
Cut each tube into 10 x 4 inch tubes. Unpick somewhere (I started with the red square, as I wanted these around the centre), lay out your strip, then proceed to unpick 7 more, moving where you unpick along one colour each time. Sew all these together, then make a mirror image set for the other side.
Here the left hand side is all sewn, including the extra strip that forms the centre. The right hand side is still unsewn.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ready to roll...

The colour slippage in the wash was a bit of a godsend really, as I decided there just wasn't enough ZING in the colours I was using, so I made some more. Yes, yes, I'm not going to get this done over the weekend, am I? But the time frame is entirely my own, I just want to get on and make it.

So here's the final 9 fabrics in the lineup. I added the red as the centre fabric (a la log cabin blocks) to symbolise home and hearth, and added a pale yellow and pale blue.

Personal Philosophies

Now you MAY think that, as an art quilter and someone who is always trying out new techniques, I am not interested in traditional crafts. Not so. I have just bought these little handkerchiefs from a local Op (=Thrift) Shop - someone has taken the trouble to crochet around the edges. Not something that is done nowadays. They cost me 20 cents each. In my living room, I have this lovely crocheted cotton tablecloth. Click on the photo to get a closer look at what I'm reading!
In the big oak china cabinet, I have a couple of drawers like this....I just adore old embroidered stuff.

One of my personal philosophies is a variation of "what goes around, comes around". I say "take help when you need it, and give it when you don't". My daughter Sophie has got involved with the refugee resettlement programme as a a volunteer. She has been assigned to help an Eritrean family, and they have just moved out of the camp into a state house. She is loving her dealings with the family, and all the other Eritreans they know that come around to the house, and has asked me to make them a quilt.
I wanted a quick, easy but effective design, so I chose "trip Around The World" - a very appropriate design, I thought. I had this commercial fabric which I used as the base, and then dyes some matching fabrics to go with it.
For the dyers - lime green made from Sun Yellow with a dash of Turquoise; Dark Green; Sun Yellow withsome Tangerine; Emerald green; and Sapphire Blue.

I put the fabrics into a hot wash and went out for half an hour or so. When I came home, the washing machine plug had fallen out enough to stop the machine, so I fear there have been colour bleeds into the yellow and lime. If so, I'll do some more.

More photos coming!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Screen printing Day 2

Of course, this was the fun day when we really got into it. Here's Carla, the tutor. You can see more of her wonderful printed hosiery here.

If you like her stuff, I'm sure she'd consider shipping overseas - drop her an email!
Here are some footless tights that I bought - these are seconds so cost $3 instead of $30 or so. Very chic! I started printing with the fish, and also printed some teatowels that I'll give away.
Then I got onto the tree, and started to play with light to dark images, and putting another colour through the middle.
I did lots of trees, as these suited the hand dyed fabric. They ranged from these subtle ones.... some brighter.... this fluoro pink one....
...and some on brighter backgrounds. I also printed a few calico bags.

Now to think about what to do with all my tree images.......any ideas?

Screen printing

This weekend, I'm doing a screen printing class. I've done a beginners' class before, also with this tutor, around 3 to 4 tears ago, but at that time, I was making completely different quilts and it didn't really click with me although I love anything that puts colour and design on fabric. The first day was spent learning the basics, and deciding on and making our designs. Then the tutor, Carla, transfers these to a screen and brings them back for the second day.

We get an A3 sized screen to work with, so we can have 1 large design, 2 medium, 4 small or whatever will fit in the space - in my case, 3 of them. The designs we're not using when we screen will be masked off with newspaper and tape, so that only the chosen design gets printed. The black lines will be where the colour comes through the screen.

I found a tree shape on the net and then traced it (with changes) to make my large image. I'm going to print this with paler colours first, slightly moving the screen along and then using a deeper shade to create a "ghosting" effect. The fish I drew from a small photo I saw of one in a quilt in Quilting Arts magazine; and the Maori carving was traced from a photo.

Today we get to do then hands-on stuff! Results later.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back to my roots

This is the first art quilt I ever made. It's called "There Are Flying Geese In The Circle Of My Life", and I made it for a Lyttelton Quilters' challenge, to make a quilt that represented me and my life. This hangs at the bottom of my stairs. Fortunately, I've got over giving my work preposterously long titles.
Not long after that, I did some quilt designing, and published a couple of patterns. Only a couple, as my pattern producer stopped doing it. This wallhanging gets lots of comments, and hangs in my living room. It looks much nicer in real life, but I can't find an actual photo of it.
I made this quilt for a male friend of mine, who didn't have much in the way of belongings after returning to NZ from overseas. Again, the actual quilt looks better than the pattern photo. It's a queen size (large double ) quilt.

Above is another queen size quilt I made for my "adopted" daughter Rachel, one of Sophie's close friends. I only made one more queen size quilt after this, for Sophie's (now former) boyfriend, Erlo. I was fed up with making things that size, and quilting them was hard on my back and shoulders.
And in the midst of a cold raw winter's day, with the Shortest Day approaching fast, here's a lovely poppy that's brightening up my deck.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I am SO doing there!

Just nothing earth-shattering creative, that's all........Ok, I can't claim any credit for creating this sunrise....I just thought it was a while since I had one on here.
This is part of a cardigan I've dug out of the archives - rather jolly in-your-face flecked wool, but I like the way this pattern has the contrast rib section. This is a sleeve, and I'm partway up the combined back and fronts. Should be finished this year.

And here is the second front on the Crossover Cable Cardigan from Interweave Knits. Only the sleeves to go after this bit is finished.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A year ago....

Times are tough here in New Zealand, especially for the self-employed (eg me), so my focus at present is on making a living, with my shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone and so on. You get the picture. As a result, creative time takes a back seat apart from the ubiquitous knitting, which goes on in the background. So what better way to fill my midweek blog spot, I mused, than look at what I was doing 12 month ago? I was doing a spot of dyeing my Blended fabric. As I recall, that day was about 4 degrees Celsius, so it was a labour of love.
About that time, I accidentally set my raised garden alight with hot ashes. Ooops.
And I was eating healthy roast vegetables. See the little purple things? They are Maori potatoes, and are purple all the way through, even when cooked.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A bit more on the snow, and the morning after.....

Here's the "art' shot, of the ash tree branches full of snow against the evening sky.
Here it is at the height of the snowfall. The tree on the right is normally completely upright. I love this photo, it looks like it's shot in black and white.
The morning after! You can see the ash tree in the lower right of the photo. There's snow on them thar hills!
Whose footsteps are those? This morning, the snow has turned to ice and is all crunchy underfoot as the dogs go about their business.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

First snow!

Where I grew up was a long way from snow, and we weren't a wealthy family who could afford to go skiing, so I get very excited snow now that I live somewhere it happens from time to time. Today the temperature has dropped from 16 degrees Celsius at lunchtime to 0 degrees by 3pm, as a southerly front passed over. Above is the front lawn after about an hour.
And here's the vege garden out the back.
These plants are on the front deck. I'm hoping it'll snow for a while but I've taken the photos now in case it stops.
Driveway with car and poodle. The car lights are not on, they're just showing the reflection of the flash.
And here is the street view.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The nymphs

Here's the completed Naiad (except for binding - I hate doing the dull bits). I like the way the bit with the wavy horizontal quilting looks much lighter - it is meant to represent looking through water.
And here is her cousin, the Dryad (wood nymph). Same method of construction with organza on top, but she is cut from a monoprinted cotton piece I did recently. I've used 3 different variegated cottons to quilt this one, and each segment has a slightly different pattern. I really enjoy quilting like this, as I am not a superb free motion quilter.
Here's the reverse - I like the backs of these too.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Subtle and understated

Not words normally applied to me, and I'm the first to admit that. Today, however, I'm doing a work that is both.

Yes, I know I have many, many creations that remain uncompleted...but unless something really engages and excites me, I move on. Today I wanted to make something using the outline of a body. As a result of my Google search, I discovered Henri Matisse. Interestingly, he died exactly a month to the day after I was born. You can read about him here if you're so inclined. What I discovered about him that was so interesting to me was that he did paper cut-outs.

If you're a long-time reader of my blog, you'll know that I have a thing about fabric cut-outs. I decided to use a Matisse Blue Nude as the basis for my cut-out which I made from hand-dyed silk. Then I covered it with organza:
I also wanted to quilt using lines, so first I made some as my starting point:
Then I started to quilt the area outside the lines vertically, and the area inside would be horizontal. As Naiads are water nymphs, the lines needed to have curves and ripples in them.
This is where I got to by lunchtime. And here's the reverse:

It's a small piece, about 11 by 9 inches.