Thursday, December 31, 2009

Visual diaries

In early December, I did a course on visual diaries. I thought the course would be about keeping a visual diary and was very surprised when I received the materials list to find that we were going to make a book. I nearly pulled out of the course but then decided to give it a go. Barbara Jackson, a local art teacher, was a good teacher and I was pleasantly surprised to find that bookbinding could be fun and easy.

We started by making a simple pamphlet book.

And then moved onto a more complex concertina book.

We did spend a bit of time working on what to put into journals - and Barbara showed us lots of examples of her wonderful journals - but I didn't make much progress with mine. I hope to do Sharon Boggon's Studio Journals course next year to learn more about visual diaries - but I don't think I'll make my own book for the course.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Machine embroidery with Helen Godden

A few weeks ago, I did a beginners' free motion quilting course with Helen Godden. Helen is a very talented quilt artist and a good teacher. For once, I was able to keep up with the class, instead of spending the whole time threading my machine. I really enjoyed the course and hope to do more with Helen next year. Unfortunately, I haven't done much more since, apart from another sample piece.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Season's greetings

Season's greetings to all. I spent the lead-up to Christmas trying to do some sewing and having everything imaginable go wrong - including sewing two fronts and two backs together, realising I didn't have the required elastic at 5.30pm and, the last straw, discovering on Christmas Eve that my machine wouldn't zigzag. So I now have several unfinished items, including the outfit that I was making Emma as a Christmas present.

However, she arrived yesterday wearing the dress and hat, which I had made for her birthday in September but hadn't gotten around to photographing previously.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dyeing workshop

A few weeks ago, I participated in a dyeing workshop put on by ACT Textile Arts. It was a fun day and I learnt a lot about discharging, resists and over-dyeing. Here are pieces set out in the sun to dry.

And here are some of the fabrics I produced on the day. I'd like to do more but it has been too cold and wet since to spend time outside, especially messing around with dyepots.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fabric postcard swap

I've been doing lots of things in recent weeks but I either haven't finished them or don't yet have photos of them. However, a while ago, I participated in a postcard swap through Stitchin Fingers Fabric Postcards group. This is the postcard I sent off.

And here's the beautiful and elegant card I received.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Wanda

I made this scarf as a birthday present for my friend, Wanda. She loves these colours and was delighted with her present. However, I had forgotten to photograph it, so I had to borrow it back to take this photo.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Colour wheels and other mysteries

I spent 4 days last week at a colour workshop. I now know a lot about how to blend paint to achieve a particular shade and I also have a better understanding about which colours work well together - but I still need lots of practice and experience. I was also reminded that I like working with fibres much better than paint.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Beanie baby

I'm now allowed to use my hand and it didn't take long for me to pull out the knitting needles and whip up this little beanie for Emma.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fibre day at the Old Bus Depot Markets

Today was Fibre Day at the Old Bus Depot Markets and I took advantage of the opportunity to enhance my stash and deplete my savings. It was lots of fun browsing through the offerings and I returned home with lots of goodies.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I've created a monster

My friend, Wanda, was intrigued by my needle-felting so I showed her how to do it and then asked her to babysit my machine while I travelled around Egypt and had surgery. She had a great time with it and produced these fabulous pieces. She then bought her own machine. It'll be interesting to see what she comes up with next.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Sometime between my recent adventures (Egypt and surgery), I received this beautiful postcard from Maggi. Thank you, Maggi, I love the subtle colours and intricate details. I want to learn how to do machine embroidery and would love to be able to make something as beautiful as this.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Non-opposable thumb

I haven't been able to do much in the way of textile arts since having a trapeziectomy (removal of a small bone) on my right wrist about 6 weeks ago. While my wrist was swathed in plaster and heavy bandages, I couldn't do much more than wriggle my fingers.

After 2 weeks, I progressed to a rigid plastic splint, which allowed me much greater use of my fingers.

I'm now wearing a soft splint and feel almost normal but still won't have that whole opposable thumb thing working for another 6 weeks. However, I should be able to resume driving in about 2 weeks and I can do some needle-felting - just nothing very complicated.

Monday, April 20, 2009

More images from Egypt

Here are some more photos from my Egyptian trip.

Carvings on a temple wall (I can't remember which one - there were lots and they were all very similar). It must have taken so long to carve the figures into the rock and they were expected to last - as indeed they have.

Some Greek writing carved onto a temple wall. Egypt had many foreign rulers over the centuries (millennia) but one of the things that caught my attention was the variety of scripts I saw during my travels (hieroglyphics, Greek, Arabic and so on).

A Whirling Dervish in Aswan, with his brightly coloured skirt swirling. I think the design of his skirt could translate to a quilt.

The Alexandria Library gave me goosebumps. It doesn't look much from the outside but is beautiful and spacious inside. However, I also loved the facade, which is decorated with a wide variety of scripts.

A young girl transporting grass on a donkey.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I haven't done much (read: any) textile arts recently but that's because I've been gathering inspiration from further afield - much further afield. In mid-March, we endured the long flight to Egypt. It is an amazing country and I've returned with many images, which I expect will influence my textile art in the future.

The pyramids and the Sphinx are almost cliched images of Egypt.As are camels (I didn't manage a ride on this trip but I've done that in central Australia).
Cairo traffic included some vehicles that aren't usually found on Canberra streets.
And, perhaps, the most unexpected sight was this rooftop farm in the centre of Cairo, which we could see from our hotel room.
We also had a day-trip to Petra, where we saw these beautifully coloured rocks.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Triangular purses

We went to a wedding in Sydney on Saturday - one of my many nieces. We gave the young couple a monetary gift, which I put into this purse. I found the pattern at

It didn't take long to make the purse, although it's a bit fiddly. I then made a couple more. I'll give one to another niece for her birthday and I'm sure the other will find a home one day. I might even keep it myself as a coin purse.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fabric postcards

Sometime ago, Sylvia suggested that we do a one-on-one postcard swap and soon after I received this beautiful postcard from her.

However, it took a while for me to do my return postcard. A few of my ideas didn't work out and I didn't particularly like this representation of leaf litter, although I love it now. (A friend admired it today and I'm thinking of sending it to her.)

After more playing around, I sandwiched a piece of aqua polycotton between two layers of organza, added aqua and gold yarns plus Angelina fibres and ended up with these. I sent one to Sylvia and one to a friend who was interested in what I could do with the embellisher. The others are yet to find homes.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Doing my bit for the economy

I've added a few things to my stash recently. The first photo shows items I picked up when all fabrics at Lincraft were reduced in price.

Then, last Friday, I had a wonderful time at the craft fair in Melbourne. I was like in a kid in a lolly shop. I had to wait for my son to meet me after work, so I wandered around for hours. Most of my goodies, pictured below, came from The Thread Studio but I also picked up some fabric and beads at the South Melbourne Markets the next day. I haven't had time to play with any of them yet but I love just looking at them.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dale's challenge

My recent silence hasn't been because of lack of activity on my part. At the beginning of January, I made two entries for Dale Rollerson's Embellish Stitch Enrich Challenge. Actually, I worked on several ideas before settling on these pieces.

This one is called 'When a butterfly flaps its wings . . .' The theme for the challenge is Connections and this piece represents the connections between people and the environment. I had very few green fabrics for the background, so had to go off to Spotlight yet again.

The second piece is called 'Ties that bind'. It represents the myriad diverse connections we form with others throughout our lives – with family, friends, classmates, teachers, colleagues and the many other people we connect with over the years. Some connections are short, while others last a lifetime; some are strong, others weak; some are gentle, others are harsh. They all contribute to the fabric of our lives.