Saturday, 27 October 2007

Talking about pointy things..'s a little smidgen of a secret thing I'm working on. It's for a challenge and I'll show more when it's been revealed next year. This is just the beginning of much larger piece. It's quilte a simple construction - vliesofixed shapes on a background and stitching over the top.

Scatterday J, pointy things, restaurant and sport

Oh dear, a sad haul for this week! I decided at the start that the things I photographed would be on my daily round, not something I made a special trip for. There are no restaurants beginning with J, or Japanese resturants, anywhere I went this week, and while I had brilliant ideas about sport, no javelin throwers, ju-jitsuists, judoers or long jumpers presented themselves locally, despite diligent searching. The space in a croquet hoop is called a jaw, but the croquet players were washed out this week, and the local sportspersons have hung up their football jerseys for the season. C'est la vie.

I should have known it would be like this because I found my pointy thing almost immediately last Saturday. Here it is:

These are jenny calipers, also known as hermaphrodite calipers. They're used to scribe a line parallel to the edge of something, so the hook end goes around the edge and the pointy end does the scribing. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio..."

Thursday, 25 October 2007

A bit of dressmaking

I've been busy doing little bits of this and that, but not making huge progress on anything. But I have cracked the pants fitting problem, at least until I gain or lose weight. I seem to have been living in jeans, because I couldn't find ready-made pants that fitted well and were in fabrics I liked . This is what the first pair looks like:

It's a lousy photo, and I should really have been wearing shoes. I had great plans to have David take a better photo but that deoesn't seem to be happening, so this one will have to do.These pants were made from mid blue drill as a toile, and have a back zipper. I'm not mad keen on back zippers, so the next pair, almost finished in black drill, has a standard fly front and jeans-style pockets. They're a bit looser because I forgot that I had allowed slightly-larger-than-usual seam allowances for fitting. But they are still wearable, which is good since I have no intention of taking them apart! I have about half a dozen different pants fabrics waiting their turn now.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Scatterdays Letter P: red, sweet, metal

There's an overwhelming red tinge to my photos this week. So many P things on my travels were red..

First, I'm very partial to piquant red peppers, don't they look appetising? We always buy Pontiac potatoes, too. And lest anyone postulate improper premises from the preponderance of provender among my photos, here's a picture of a perennial plant called a pink, (which, confusingly, is red) in a pot which, with its pink and purple pals, will be planted in my personal plot presently. And who could survive without the postbox, which is both red and metal? Certainly not the person who pushed past as I photographed it, to post her very pressing piece of postage. Another metal, but not red, is David's Prius, of which he is very proud.

Oh, there's those peppers again, because of course they are sweet peppers, but in case someone perpends whether I'm paltering, there's also some plum jam which, curiously, is also red, and another plant from my garden called a polygala. OK, I know its flowers are purple, but its common name is Sweet Pea Bush.

Whew, this is becoming hard work!

Saturday, 13 October 2007


My friends Michelle and Pennie talked me into doing Scatterdays, an idea dreamed up by Michelle and Dy to encourage us to take more photos and blog about it. Each week we have one letter, 3 categories and have to find and photograph something from each category that starts with that letter. Why? Just for the fun of it! This week's letter was F and the categories were Cold Things, Signs and The Elements.

OK, I found heaps of signs I liked. Mr Fong and the entire Asia Pacific region seem to have joined together to sell Fresh Food in Eastwood shopping centre, and I couldn't resist the ubiquitous Fire signs (how often do you actually notice them in public places? Let's hope we never need to know where they are!) I am always amused by these Floodway signs in the middle of the same shopping centre (just outside the library). Guess why this is a Flood-prone area? Because, in my mother-in-law's childhood in Eastwood, this used to be a LAKE! People went boating on it. Now it's an oval and a shopping centre but nobody thought to tell the water. (I guess this could count as an aspect of The Elements too?) And Francis the Fresh Fish Man has been coming, in various guises, to my local shopping centre since before 1984, when we moved into this area. (I think we're on Francis IV.)If you look carefully you can even see a portion of Francis' anatomy that I won't name.

I had fabulous ideas about cold Food but, just to be on the safe side, I photographed the very tidy Freezer of my Fridge, with Frozen Peas and other Frozen Food. But then I thought of those great staples of Australian entertaining, Feta cheese and French Onion dip. And I am Fond of Feta and David's Favourite dip is French Onion. (OK, maybe Fish ones, but he got French Onion...)

I foundered upon The Elements. In the final absence of the photos of the Hawkesbury River in flood, which are clearly among those photos *not* carefully put into photo albums, I fell back upon this photo of fractonimbus clouds from Lord Howe Island. I should make you look it up, but I'll be kind. Fractonimbus clouds are raggedy, broken-up, wispy clouds formed by wind or air currents underneath a layer of nimbus (rain-bearing) clouds. You can see them on the lower part of the nearest cloud. So now you know.

P, you say? And Red, Sweet Things and Metal. Hmm. How obscure can I make this without driving myself nuts?

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

A new project... well, an old one

I've started working on another project. "Another?" I hear you say. "Does she ever actually finish anything?" Well yes, sometimes I do, but this is actually progressing a long term project.

Back in the nineties, I started making 12in blocks for a quilt for myself. At that stage I was making lots of quilts for other people, including ones for a local charity called The Shack, but I don't think I'd made one just for me. I bought a whole lot of several fabrics that I really liked, in colours that I knew David would also like. I made a couple of sample blocks - one called Memory and one called Best of All. All up, I made about a dozen blocks before it got set aside.

In March 2000, I decided that what this quilt needed was some needleturn applique. I worked out a design, based on some traditional motifs, some quilts I saw in magazines and inspired by the Jacobean Applique book. Here's what the applique looks like:

It's 20 1/2in finished.
It was a bit crumpled from being stored so I just gave it a cursory swipe with the iron for photography purposes (as one does).

The Best of All blocks looks like this:

and the one Memory block I'd made looked like this:

I decided it's a bit dark so I've changed the centre colour to apricot:

That looks better! (Sorry, it's a night time photo)

So now I'm hand piecing the rest of these blocks.
This is what the quilt will look like when it's finished(the blank areas will have applique, yet to be designed):

I'm actually working on this quilt now because, in March 2000, David expressed the intention of building us a bed. It would have chip carving decoration and deep drawers underneath to store quilts, and the deal was I would make the quilt to go on it. Yes, you're right; although he works almost as slowly as I do, he finished the bed early this year and he's very properly asking "where's our quilt?" It may take me a little time....

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Journal quilts

Isn't it interesting to revisit where you were a few years ago? You look at your work and see different things you could have done, that would make it a better piece. Well, that's what happens to me anyway! But most of my pieces are here with me, so there isn't a sense of novelty to revisit them.

I made this little journal quilt in 2004 but it has been visiting my daughter, on its way to its new owner. But I realised I hadn't put a hanging sleeve on it, so it came home again a couple of weeks ago. I still like it and find it fun, though I might do some bits differently if I were making it today.

It's called Hell in a Handbasket in honour of Kas's friend Helen, who will eventually own it, once I put that hanging sleeve on it. I've found the rest of the backing fabric so that's a start, anyway!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Arts of Islam

Mags asked me to share a couple of my sketchbook pages and I finally got around to scanning them. They aren't anything special as far as artwork goes - I was more interested in getting down the ideas and relationships. I knew I'd be buying the catalogue, but I'm sure I'm not the only one to have been caught out by catalogues that bear little resemblance to the artefacts you just studied! This one was brilliant, full of beautiful clear photos of the exhibition pieces, but obviously, the detail of the motifs is hard to puzzle out if you haven't made sketches.

As you can see, these are mostly simple motifs, from various media, that I thought would be interesting repeated in stitch or stamped or appliqued on textile work.

And these are more of the same. Several of these are from woodwork, rather than painted pieces. I felt I had way too short a time at the exhibition - there was so much to see! But there's plenty of ideas here and among my other sketches, for me to explore.