Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not much luck with my photos

I haven't had my computer for a few days while it has been at computer hospital, they were trying to retrieve my photos from the backup disk but only about a third of them seem to be there - something to do with a corrupt file.  Not good news.
I am disappointed about this as so many are lost.  But I suppose I am lucky that I still have some.
It has been interesting, not having my computer. I have had to put off some of the things I wanted to do until I have had it available.  I am having to do design work by hand!!  Very old-fashioned.
There have been some posts go up here because I was practising putting posts up and delaying the time they become available.  I have not put the photos from the workshop onto the computer, they are still on the camera, so I will post later.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nuno Felting workshop - day one

I attended a two day felting workshop this weekend.  It was taught by Phyllis Hoffman and organised through the Victorian Feltmakers.  I am rather tired after two days of laying out and rolling felt.

On the first day I made two samples after seeing some of Phyliss' fabulous samples.  It was a very relaxed class, Phyliss gave us some freedom in our work but was able to give me direction as I have not had all that much experience with feltmaking, and none with nuno felting.
On Saturday, I worked with cotton muslin.  It took quite a bit of rolling to make the felt attach properly but had some beautiful texture when finished.
I was not sure how much it would shrink, what it would look like when finished.  A whole new learning experience for me - both days.

One of my samples was inspired by the work I am doing for my course, you will notice the vine theme again.

Some of the ladies had attended other workshops run by Phyllis and had a very clear idea of what they would like to do.  Phyllis remembered them, what they had done previously and was able to give them exactly the advice they needed.  They produced some spectacular work.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Baby's quilt

My nephew's baby girl was born last November.  I had a quilt top finished by her birth day but decided that the colours weren't working well.  So I unpicked it and made new sashings.  Unfortunately, I ran out of the fabric I was using for the sashing - it was one of the Fossil Fern patterns that is no longer printed.  I pulled it out again and decided that the seams were getting a bit ragged.
A totally new design was called for.  I found a design I like in a Sensational Quilts, an Express Publications magazine/book.  The actual design was called Groom's Nine-Patch, by Trudy Brodie (these are some links I found when I searched for her name, I assume they are the same person).   I used the design from one book (choosing different colours) but the measurements from another.  The measurements were in metric - most unusual for patchwork!!  The quilt ended up being much bigger than a cot quilt, because I was mixing the measurements a bit, but I decided not to worry, it can be laid on the floor and she can crawl around on it.
I finally delivered it last weekend.  Only 4 months late.

It is a while since I have done straight quilting (apart from the one I did for the another great-neice born in February, one of my own design).  I found that I actually enjoyed the process.

It has been interesting, choosing fabrics for the quilts, in light of the textile designing we have done over the last year or so.  I would like to design some more of my own fabrics and print them - yet another process to try at home.  More equipment and space needed.  Hmmm, maybe I'll wait and see where my enthusiasms take me this year first.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trying to get over it

I may have to lose some of my photos, doesn't seem all that important when I think of the people in Japan and Libya who are losing so much more.
However, I will take my computer to the technician on Monday and he may be able to retrieve the photos.  I will be very happy if that is so.
In the meantime, I have been working on some embellishing machine (dry needle felting with 5 needles and lots of power) work.  I am not that happy with the piece as the colours are not great and the design could be better.  But I have just decided to play and see what can be achieved.  I am working on producing some samples for my course, based on the passionfruit vine in our backyard.
Here is a picture (NOT using iPhoto) of work so far.
I used a commercial felt backing, wool roving and scrim, then I knitted some yarn, plain knit, steamed it and pulled it out when it had dried a little.  
Our course teachers are encouraging some 3D work, that is one of the reasons I have chosen this technique.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I haven't posted for a few days - I haven't wanted to go near my computer.  I have deleted my whole iPhoto library.  No-one told me that it was kept in the Pictures folder!!!
My computer has been telling me for ages that the startup disk is full, so I decided to delete some pictures and documents I had scanned and no longer need.  I trolled through the folder and thought they all had jpg on the end, not noticing a little icon that said iPhoto library.
I think I can retrieve it from a backup, from a few weeks ago because the backup has not been going well either, but I still can't open all the pictures, so I think I may have to delete other stuff - I hope that is the problem.
I haven't been game to try it yet, will need hours to go through it properly and make sure I don't delete other important stuff!  If that doesn't work, I'll have to get professional help.  More time and money wasted. But worth it if I get my photos back.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I contacted the Discovery Centre at the Museum of Victoria and sent them images of the butterflies on the passionfruit vine in our garden.  They have replied, quite promptly, and identified it as a Glasswing.

It turns out that the passionfruit may be a native also.  It looks a lot like the red passionflower that had a link on the butterfly page. There is some more info at the Australian Native Plants Society website.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Looking at colour palettes.

My drawing teacher advised me to have a look at some of the colour palettes in nature, so I took a few shots in the garden this morning.  Some of nature is very bright.

Here are a few shots from this morning.  I will have to go through the hundreds of pictures I have taken on other days to see what else I can find.  There should be plenty of inspiration.
The canna lilies are out at the moment, lots of bright colours there.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Continuing to Play

I have continued to play with some ideas that might work Design Concepts and Applications, one of my subjects this year, where we are looking at Biomimicry - not that we are about to invent any fabulous new way of doing things - and I have been looking at the way plants spread out: how they branch out to fill a space, how they attach themselves to other plants, or to their own branches, and twine around.
I have been wanting to try some of the products that I have seen advertised or used in other projects, so I have tried to make some backgrounds and some of the designs.

Here is an example I made using hot water soluble sheets, I laid out some yarns between sheet of soluble fabric and then did zigzag over them.  I tried to leave a little of the gluey substance when I was rinsing out so that there would be some stiffness to the work.

For the background,  I have used some heat shrinking fabric that you attach to the cotton with a grid of some sort, that you sew on, and then steam the plastic sheeting so that it shrivels and causes the fabric to buckle.  I am not sure what I might use this for but it could be a very interesting background to one of my plant pieces.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


The butterflies came out today.  Are they the babies starting out a new life or are they the elderly, entering the last stages of life, albeit able to breed?
Do they hatch or do they emerge?
Have  you noticed that the bottom part of the wing is transparent?  

Anyway, enough philosophy for today.  They are really quite pretty, very like the chrysalis.  Here it is, on the banana passionfruit plant.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Permission to Play

We have been looking at disperse dyes and thermoplasticity in our Experimental Textiles course and I have found is fascinating.  I attended a Play Day at the Victorian Embroiderer's Guild a couple of years ago where we played with disperse dyes but, for some reason, I did not follow up on it.  But combining the dyeing with the thermoplasticity has somehow appealed to me.  Recently I visited a friend and we had a very pleasant day just mucking around, no absolute goal, no specific design, in mind.  It was very relaxing.
Here are some of the results.

I am not sure what I could use them for but they were fun to do.  Maybe something will occur to me, perhaps for some of my other subjects.
The one above was inspired by the passionfruit we have growing out the back, the spiraling effect was very similar to the actual plant.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Patchwork and Quilters Guild of Victoria

I was out walking the dog this morning and came across a sign that said Patch Work.  Intriguing - was it a meeting or an exhibition?  I called in and learnt that it was the monthly meeting of the Patchwork and Quilter's Guild of Victoria, it meets there every month.  Big hall, lots of people!  It had that happy buzz sound that you get with a group of women doing something they love.
Maybe it was a sign that I should join - I've picked up their leaflet at many a Quilt Convention but have been too lazy to join.  I can hardly say it is too far to go to meetings now that they have a new location.
I have been finding my interest in patchwork (not the quilting so much) reviving recently, after having not done any for several years (not much, anyway).  I decided to do my Studio Textiles and Design course to enhance my design skills and, since I started that course, have done very little patchwork.  The course has introduced me to many other textile techniques and skills and I have been distracted by them.  I have enjoyed them greatly and have learnt a lot but I am finding I would like to incorporate some of what I have learnt with patchwork and quilting.  I have a piece that I have entered into the Graphica exhibition that is very patchwork and quilting oriented.

It is based on the many tiles we saw and the tulip motif that is so often on show in Turkey.  The technique is based on Beryl Taylor's video workshop, put out by Quilting Arts. You can see my first attempts here.