May 31, 2010 § Leave a comment
I know we need the rain and my garden is loving it but it does make looking out the window a little dreary. However I found a little beauty hiding away in various corners of my front garden and I thought I’d share them with you.
In the meantime I’m still basting my Labyrinth design. Gosh I hope this works after all this painstaking work! I’d say I’m about 80% done. I’ll show you when it’s finished before I start cutting it up to sew.
Looking forward to a little sunshine tomorrow…
May 30, 2010 § 9 Comments
Well I have lots to show and tell you so this will be a long post. Why not go and grab a cuppa and settle down to enjoy this textile extravaganza!
The Macarthur Textile Expo
Yesterday I visited the Macarthur Textile Expo at Camden Civic Centre. It was a grey, coolish late Autumn day outside but inside was a riot of colour and form and a pleasant buzz of people. There were market stalls where you could buy anything from fat quarters to some really beautiful and unusual fibres; the various guilds had tables showcasing their talents – embroidery, spinning and weaving, knitting and crochet, and quilting. (Sorry if I’ve left anyone out) And there were classes where you could try something and take home what you made. While I was there the spinners and weavers were doing their thing. If I had a criticism at all of the Expo (constructive only becauseI think they did a great job) it would be to more clearly advertise within the Expo what classes were on at what time. I couldn’t see anything.
The Macarthur Textile Challenge
According the website the theme for the challenge was:
‘SEEING YOUR WAY, SEEING OUR WAY’
We all have a pattern. A weave. A past. A present.
Many threads of family history have brought us here.
Sometimes the thread breaks… but we all came from the same garden many years ago.
How can our hands bring together our diverse threads and create a pattern for a future together?
There were so many beautiful, unusual, fun and touching entries. I asked permission to photograph some to show you and was given permission as long as the artist was credited. The standard was extremely high and I wish could show them all but here are some of the entries that caught my fancy. I hope you like them too.
Renaissance by Debby Dewhurst
In her artist’s statement Debby says “‘Renaissance’ symbolises history’s broken lines reborn over time. Changing yet remaining the same.” She continues “Hydrangeas have been a favourite of mine since playing among them in my grandparent’s garden. They are now flourishing in my garden.” I’m afraid the photograph really doesn’t do this piece justice. The 3D effect of the hydrangea petals really doesn’t show but when you stand in front of it, it just makes you want to reach out and touch them.
True Colours by Susan Wilson
Susan says ” This small appliqued, quilted and painted art quilt represents eyes of all colours that look for ‘true colours’ in others. Perhaps our world would be a better place if we could look beyond the obvious to understand others better and see the world from new perspectives.”
Susan has been quilting for 10 years but says that she has been “dabbling” with art quilting for only two. This looks way more sophisticated than “dabbling” to me.
Knit One Purl Two! by Sandie O’Neill
Sandie’s artist’s statement says “It never ceases to amaze me how knitting has the ability to transcend barriers, cultural, language, even age. You may be in a place where you know no one, pull out your knitting, and from across the room there is a nod or a smile and suddenly you are no longer alone. There is a connection through the art of knitting.” The two felt hands are from different cultures and co-operate to create a beautiful intertwining that will become the fabric of something that can be used.
Let’s Talk by Sandie O’Neill
Sandie says that talking sticks have always fascinated her and that “this simple and powerful object empowers people. It provides a safe place to say what is in your heart and be heard without fear of reprisal or humiliation.” I think her talking stick is exquisite.
Memories from Baghdad by Zahra al Mudhaffar
Zahra was born in Iraq and grew up in a large family in Basra, southern Iraq. She moved to Baghdad when she got married and her seven children were born there. While she has travelled extensively outside Iraq – including in Lebanon, Britain, and Spain – over the last 30 years Zahra says ” I will never ever forget my beloved country, Iraq”. She continues “Today I live in Australia with my children and grandchildren and the ties of my past are entangled with my present and future.”
Her applique expresses her love of the land of Iraq with “its golden minarets and domes, the sun shining brightly on that rich country, rich with its history, culture and religions.”
Patched Together by Maria Rofe
Maria says “Our community is like a patchwork quilt. Each person and group has their own identity, symbol, texture and colour. As a group we come together like a rich tapestry, each contributing to the other, fitting side-by-side in harmony”. She goes on to say “… although different, we all hold on to common values such as peace, friendship, loyalty, family, love and respect.”
Scrumbled Garden by Vicki Davenport
Vicki Davenport not only entered a beautiful piece of art but she’s wearing one too. Doesn’t it look fabulous! Vicki says of her piece “This abstract piece looks at the garden from above. There are many diverse threads, weaves and patterns which connect together to form a community of design.” Vicki chose the garden as her interpretation of the challenge theme because “throughout history gardens have drawn us together to admire their beauty, or to be places of solitude and reflection, to celebrate or commemorate occasions of sorrow in both public and family life and are an inevitable part of any community.”
Vicki’s work is made from small knitted or crocheted shapes called “scrumbles” a term coined by Prudence Mapstone the innovator of freeform knitting.
And speaking of Prudence Mapstone…
Prudence gave a short address and formally opened the Macarthur Textile Expo. She also had a stall that showcased her work and where you could buy her amazing books and some really unusually beautiful fibres. The word “cornucopia” comes to mind when I see Prudence’s work – it is so abundant, vibrant and visually stunning.
For those of you who don’t know Prudence and her work please visit her site Knot Just Knitting where you’ll find an explanation of freeform knitting and be able to see some of her really intriguing works.
She has several books available from beginners up. If you’re looking for one try Freeform: serendipitous design techniques for knitting & crochet which describes her techniques as well showing you some of the wonderful things that can be made using the freeform technique. I have to say my photos really don’t do justice to the examples of her work shown here. You can follow her on her blog if you’re interested.
What more could there be?
Well I couldn’t be surrounded by all those beautiful yarns and other goodies and come home empty-handed could I? Well I didn’t. I bought three balls of the Capriccio yarn. I haven’t done any knitting for ages and I just got a pattern for a swirly scarf so I’m knitting furiously at the moment. I did take some photos but for some reason this yarn just doesn’t photograph well. If you want to see it take a look here. The one I bought is number 63.
I also bought this handy pack of small organisers which are perfect for putting needles, pins and bobbins of thread to take to sit and sews.
This post took several hours to put up so I hope that you’ve enjoyed it as much I enjoyed visiting the Expo. I’d love to hear what you think of these challenge entries. If I can find out what won the Challenge I’ll let you know.
May 29, 2010 § 1 Comment
It was such a difficult choice to make. You all had such great reasons for wanting to win and had wonderful colourful visions for the quilt.
In the end I tossed up between someone who vowed to make it by hand as Jinny herself would and someone who would perpetuate the giving cycle by making a quilt as a wedding present for her brother and sister-in-law. I love the idea of giving so I finally plumped for Marianne.
This is what she said:
WOW! What a gorgeous pattern, and a generous giveaway. I must admit I’ve not had the chance to peruse Jinny’s patterns, but I’ll be off to check her site now.
I would love to win this pattern from you, I would firstly do it in Greens and Purples for a wedding present to my DB and DSIL, then I’d make one for myself in ….mmmmm….I think I would have a day’s outing just to try different colour combinations and go from there.
Thank you all for entering. I plan to have other give-aways in the future and please leave your comments and let me know what you would like to see on the blog in the future, what interests you most etc.
May 29, 2010 § Leave a comment
I’ve had some great feedback on my recipes. They seem to be very popular and people are really enjoying them. Thank you everybody who has written to me about them. I had one lovely email which I have permission to share with you (but without the name). I love the idea of calling lamb pasta “Baaasta”. Took me a while to work that one out but it made me laugh when I did. Here it is:
Enjoyed the shanks recipe and the lamb pasta .. or baaaasta as my son called it. We’ve enjoyed them … jolly shanks are very dear, but a yummy trip down memory lane. I’m pretty confident they are much much nicer than my own recipe, which was a stodgy one handed down from Grandma. I was a little timid with the garlic and ginger . VERY sparing with the hot chili, which is all they stock here in Port Augusta. Will ramp it up a little bit next time. And I’m going to cook the shanks again when we go camping .. I have a slow cooking / thermal pot thing that will go very well with that recipe. Grateful to you for the yumminess.
That’s why I though I’d give you a quick and easy weekend snack. I hope you like it.
Easy, oil-free hummus
This hummus takes about 5 minutes to make, is tasty and fat-free.
1 can of chickpeas
1 tiny squirt of Gournet Garden garlic
1 squirt of Gourmet Garden Mild Chilli
(optional – 1 squirt of Gourmet Garden Dill)
1 lemon – juiced
1 lemon for garnish
A little water
Paprika or Cayenne Pepper for garnish
Some Turkish Bread
Juice one of the lemons and place in a blender. (I use a stick blender because it’s easier with small quantities like this. Drain the chickpeas. Add the Gourmet Garden squirts to the lemon juice and a small quantity of the chickpeas. Blend until smooth. Continue adding the chickpeas a little at a time until they have all been added. If necessary add a little water to make the paste easier to work. (If you really, really MUST have olive oil then use it instead of water here.) When it’s smooth transfer it to a small bowl. Dust with paprika (or you can use Cayenne Pepper if you like it a little spicy). Garnish with lemon wedges. Crisp up the Turkish bread in the oven or toaster and cut into fingers. Enjoy!
May 28, 2010 § 7 Comments
I just found out about this great idea. You can see a list of participating blogs here. The quilt I’m going to enter is the second quilt I ever made. I made it for my daughter and I hand-pieced the front and then I designed and machine-pieced the back and then hand-quilted it. What was I thinking? But then when you’re ignorant you think you can do anything! The front is called Kool Kats Kwilt (sorry abut the “K”s but not my name) by Patti Carey. You can download the free pattern here:
The three big lessons I learned from this making this quilt are:
1. Don’t make quilts to a deadline it takes all the fun out of it.
2. Having a geometric pattern front and back makes sandwiching and aligning the front and back of the quilt a nightmare.
3. Sandwiching using the Sharon Schamber boards method is harder in practice with an actual large quilt than it looks in her video.
May 28, 2010 § 1 Comment
The project moves forward…
Well thanks to Doris’ comments and a little inspiration the project is on the move again. I had a roll of “grease-proof” paper or sandwich wrap which I have used for tracing before. However this time I used it slightly differently. First I traced the pattern onto the paper. Next I spray starched the back of my top fabric then laid my bottom fabric – face down – on it and ironed it. Being a ‘no brand name generic’ type starch it’s pretty useless as starch but it did help the two fabrics become attracted to one another so I could mover them as one.
Now, as I wanted my design to come out the right way, I placed the traced design face down on the back of the bottom fabric. The other reason for doing it this way rather than face up on the top fabric is that I have a design element on the bottom fabric that I want to be centered in the central circle and this way I could easily see it and position it.
Then I took a basting thread and a largish needle and basted on the lines so that when I have finished I will have the whole design back-basted and then – hopefully – I can reverse applique the design. (Excuse the colour of the photo below, I took it at night with light on.)
A new book
Well, at least, it’s a new book for me. The postman just delivered Carol Doak‘s Easy Machine Paper Piecing. You may recall I tried foundation paper piecing a week or so ago and really enjoyed it. This book was recommended to me by the teacher and so I hopped online and went straight to The Book Depository to order it without having to pay postage! So now I’m going to put the kettle on and take a good look at it and then it’s back into the basting.
[Edited this to put the photo in. I forget earlier.]
Quilts by hand
If you read the comments left by Doris on the earlier post about this project you’ll notice how much experience and wise advice she has to offer. If you’d like to access some of her advice for yourself then come along and join the quiltsbyhand Yahoo email group. They’re a great bunch of women and one man – Hi Louis! – who predominantly use hand-piecing and quilting (though many of us do both hand and machine work).
May 27, 2010 § Leave a comment
Two days ago I shared some sewing tips with you for the Sew Mama Sew Tip-Fest. There have been some great tips added by many experienced sewers and you can find them here and here. I’m tickled pink because they chose to feature my blog in their post along with several others! So if you’re looking for some smart ways to do things take a look at what’s on offer.
Sewing lessons on the Janome 3160QDC
Today I had my first lesson on my new Janome. Rose from Sewrite Seven Hills was so friendly and helpful. I got to see the new quilting stitches which are very cute and mimic free motion quilting for small areas. And I learnt all the little tricks you need to know to make full use of the machine. I’m off to take up my trousers and use the blind hem foot. Wish me luck!
If you’re looking for the Jinny Beyer Give Away? It’s here… You’ve got till Friday Australian time to enter.