Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Discoveries after a flood: memories

Christmas disappeared in a bit of a blur for us but at least the flood waters subsided.

Although we were left with a pile of stuff to sort out. It had all been stored in the garage and now the time has come to find new homes for all of it.

Fortunately, very little was damaged but sorting through the bags and boxes was a trip down memory lane. I found my wedding dress (yes, I crocheted it - it was the 70s) - and found it hard to believe that I was ever that slim.

I crocheted this baby shawl when I was pregnant with my first son, most of it was done during the many long weeks I spent in hospital before his birth.

And my wonderful sister, Maureen, knitted this baby jacket. Maureen's husband was very ill at this time but I think she liked having some knitting to do while she spent time with him at hospital.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Discoveries after a flood: generosity

This is Tim, one of the many people who helped us deal with our flood. I later found out that Tim was exhausted from having worked long hours in recent days - but he didn't mention that during the hours that he spent working to prevent more water getting into our garage.

We are very grateful to the very generous people who came to our aid. Aaron, Tim and others who worked to drain the water from the yard. Tim who stayed to make sure we were out of further danger. My brother who also helped to stem the flow of water, stayed to help us move boxes out of the garage and then returned the following morning to help with the cleanup. Gemma who gave us photos she'd taken in case we needed them for insurance purposes. Debbie who mopped up water in our entrance foyer and the following day washed the dirty towels. Kate who spent hours spreading out photos so they wouldn't stick together and get damaged. Keith, Natalie, Margaret and Ron who gave up a relaxing Sunday to help us with the clean up.

It is inspiring to be on the receiving end of such generosity and it is reassuring to know that there are people we can rely on when the going gets tough.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I like water features but . . .

After nearly 10 years of drought, we have had a lot of rain lately. Yesterday evening our front garden was re-landscaped by a very severe storm. We were out at the time and returned home to find neighbours trying to get the water to drain before too much got into the house. Fortunately, only the garage was really damaged but we spent hours moving boxes out of the water and putting things out to dry. It's one way to tidy up the garage. However, the whole house is now quite muddy and needs a good spring clean. And we are very grateful to our neighbour, Tim, and my brother, Pat, who spent hours helping us cope with the worst of the deluge - and bucketing water away to prevent the garage flooding again.

Umm, where's the road?

Our house is on the left of this photo (out of view). We've never seen this 'creek' before - we've rarely seen even a puddle here. In fact, the tree in the photo is one of the few that survived the drought - most of them died from lack of water.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kris Kringle

Christmas is coming - along with the common requests for Kris Kringle gifts. This year, I decided that, rather than wasting my energy trying to find something appropriate within the specified price range, I would use it as an opportunity to explore some textile techniques. I started this bookmark by knitting three yarns together on very large (15mm) needles. I then needlefelted it all over before machine embroidering over the top. It is finished off with a machined buttonhole stitch around the edges. I hope the recipient likes it but I've had fun playing around - more enjoyable than shopping.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It's a long time since I last added anything to blog, not because I haven't been doing anything but because I either haven't finished things (a very long list) or I haven't managed to get a photo of it. I made this bowl of strawberries for the ACT Textile Arts exhibition back in September but forgot to photograph it before handing it over and I've only just got it back. The strawberries are made out of satin and the bowl is crocheted.

The theme for this year's exhibition was A Garden Tea Party. Members, either singly or in groups, made everything imaginable, including cakes, sandwiches, a tree, lots of leaves, flowers and even a couple of 'people'. I was really looking forward to seeing it but, unfortunately, came down with a very heavy cold and couldn't go anywhere.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


About a year ago, I started trying to make a handbag. After much trial and error, I've finally found a pattern that I like. And I've really enjoyed getting back into my sewing room - although it's in a terrible mess and I have to do some serious re-organising.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gumnut Baby

I have been organising a conference for the last few months, which didn't leave much time or energy for any textiles (note to self: always make time for playing with fabrics). However, I did knit this jumper and beanie for Emma from a Paton's pattern. I finished them a few weeks ago but she didn't like them at first. Fortunately, she seems to have taken to them now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dragonfly bag

This bag looks like a simple design but it was a little more complicated to put together than I anticipated. I expect that it would get easier with practice. I stenciled the dragonfly on using a Shiva stick. I was quite please with it and it soon found a new home. My hairdresser has left the salon and now goes to her clients' homes. I had just finished this bag when she arrived and she wanted to buy it - I gave it to her as a tip.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Winter warmer

Although the days are mostly warm and sunny, the evenings are getting cooler and winter is definitely on the way and I've been knitting most evenings. Emma liked this cardigan, mainly because she loves buttons. (She also likes sitting on the window sill because it's just the right height for her.)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Double Trouble Adventures

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to do a workshop with Jan Beaney & Jean Littlejohn. Their techniques, working on soluble backgrounds were interesting but I was more inspired by their generosity, friendliness and the wealth of advice they provided for developing pieces, including gathering and developing ideas. I learned a lot from them and enjoyed looking at their journals and samples

I still have to finish this one. The threads are laid onto a sticky soluble backing, Guliette laid over that and then I added the stitching. When I eventually finish the stitching and possibly add some beads, I'll dissolve the backing and Guliette and it should end up as a piece of lace. (The odd looking thread in the bottom right-hand corner was added by Jan to show me how to do a tie and I'll remove it later.)

This piece is made up of pieces of organza needle-felted together in a variety of ways, cut and joined. The waves of colour through it are from a piece of scrim at the back, needle-felted selectively from the back to force the colour through.

This piece was made by working large, messy cross-stitches into solusheet, then the daisies (I'm really not very good at making neat daisies). I then needle-felted the whole piece and added the beads in the centre of the flowers before dissolving the solusheet. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get the various soluble backings here but I managed to buy some solusheet from Robyn, who arranged the workshop.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Keepsake purse

I have ended up with a lot of my mother's things and finding homes for some of them has been a bit of a challenge. I thought one of my nieces would appreciate a pair of her rosary beads as a memento of her grandmother. However, I then decided that it would be nice to make a little purse to store them in. A year or so later, I've finally made the purse - it's machine quilted using one of the built-in stitches on my new machine. I'll post them off on Monday - I hope my niece likes it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Late last year, I decided to dust off my knitting needles and try some knitting. This basket weave rug is the result. I knitted it in one piece on a circular needle, so it wasn't the best project for a hot summer but it was very easy to do and very relaxing while watching television.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Studio Journal

I've finally started Sharon Boggan's Studio Journal. Unfortunately, my work has been very busy in the last couple of weeks (I think I'll retire - again) but here are some of the pages I've done for Lesson One.

Sharon suggested we start by thinking about our reasons for keeping a journal. I wrote out some word and played around with them in Wordle.

Next, I had a go at mark-making, which is very unfamiliar territory for me.

And then I moved onto rubbings. I've done this before and enjoy it. These are just a few of the rubbings I did.

Now to start on Lesson Two.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Back in time

My friend, Jordan, wanted a spinning lesson, so I put aside my high-tech, computerised, do-everything sewing machine, and dusted off my low-tech spinning wheel. I hadn't done any spinning for years but I soon regained the hang of it and remembered how relaxing and soothing it is to work at a spinning wheel.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


When I took my sewing machine in for repairs on Christmas Eve, I looked at other machines while I was waiting - and started flirting with the idea of buying a new electronic machine (my old one has cogs for the limited range of stitches). After a few weeks of arguing with myself about why I didn't need a new machine, I took the plunge and now own this amazing new Husqvarna Designer Diamond. It seems to be able to do everything except make the tea - and it might even do that.

All I've done so far is play around with it. I decided to try all the built-in stitches but gave up after a few dozen (there are hundreds). Here's a close-up of some of the built-in stitches. If my work ever gets less busy (I thought I was retired), I'll have fun exploring what it can do.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cedric the maniacal ram

I've been subscribing to Stitch magazine since the first issue and I don't think I've ever made anything from it, although I love looking through every issue and dream of trying out the various designs and techniques.

After finishing one piece of embroidery and deciding that my hands were recovered and I could once again do embroidery, I looked around for another project and found this design in the Stitch magazine, which I had long wanted to do.

I painted the background using Lumiere Halo Blue-gold. The original design was goldwork but I deiced to do it in chain stitch instead, with french knots for the topknot, using a gold thread.

I don't know what I'm going to do with this piece either but I'm sure it'll find a home eventually. I'm really enjoying once again being able to do embroidery and other hand work.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hand embroidery

Late last year, I picked up a needle and thread and tried making buttonhole rings. They worked well, so I found a piece of hand-painted silk for a background, attached the rings and kept going with more stitches, beads and shisha mirrors. Here's the result - I hope to use it on a box lid but haven't found the right size box yet.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Penguins on parade

When my son told me that his wife was expecting a baby, we bought the fabric for this quilt but I didn't make it up until late last year.

As you can see from this photo, Emma shares her father's enthusiasm for penguins.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The last remnants of Christmas

I've finally finished the last of the sewing I started before Christmas - and Emma now has lots of these little body suits.

I managed to make every possible mistake while making these. I realised I could get the two patterned ones out of the piece of fabric I'd bought, instead of just one, if I was careful cutting it out but then cut one sleeve out using the wrong size pattern piece. Despite that mistake, I managed to cut out the two garments and then sewed the two fronts together and the two backs together. Having corrected that mistake, I then sewed the pink terry toweling garment together so that the front overlapped the back at the neck, instead of the other way around. But they are together in the right order now.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Emma's Christmas present

I've finally finished Emma's Christmas present - 2 weeks late but better late than never. The pattern is McCall's 2213 and it's a nice cool outfit for our current heat wave.

Here's a back view, which I think is cuter than the front view.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tyvek adventures

Tyvek + Lumiere paint + heat = a lot of fun.

I've been hearing about the wonders of Tyvek for years and finally got hold of some - and had some time to play around with it. I free machine stitched these pieces before painting and heat-shrinking them to see if the stitching would have any effect - it didn't.

This one is painted with Lumiere Halo Blue Gold.

This one is Halo Pink Gold.

And this one is Halo Violet Gold.

I will probably just put the pieces away for now until I decide what to do with them but I can see possibilities for hand and machine embroidery.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A tracksuit for Emma

I found a remnant of pink terry toweling while shopping at Spotlight about a month ago and immediately saw its potential (I think it cost $2.30). I started the tracksuit before Christmas, along with several other things, but this is the only one I've finished so far.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

I'm looking forward to textile adventures aplenty in 2010. When I started this blog about 18 months ago, I was recovering from an operation on my left wrist and had very little use of either hand. In April last year, I had an operation on my right wrist. Both operations were very successful and I have slowly been getting back into the wonderful world of textiles. I currently have sewing, knitting, embroidery and quilting projects on the go (it didn't take me long to start lots of new UFOs).

I made this quilt for Luke James, who was arrived just 2 weeks ago on 18 December. His mother is very fond of cats and appreciated the cat theme in the quilt.