Saturday, April 29, 2006

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

Reflection of bridge over Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Autumn Leaves

I spent the weekend in Canberra and couldn't get over how beautiful the leaves were. Here in Canberra, they have planted over a million exotic trees and the autum colours really make me homesick.

If I'd come across a baseball game, I would have been on the next QANTAS flight to America. But it's rugby season here, so I'm pretty safe.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Fabric of Society

This is my other entry in the Sydney Quilt Show in June and a perfect example of why I can't make normal quilts. A simple split rail fence block pattern, older than the hills, and by the time I get through with it, it looks like a woven tapestry.

It has progressed from the quilt top shown here to a sandwiched quilt ready to be machine quilted. I'll post a picture of the finished product when it is a finished product.

In this close up, you can see that I've raided my stash of bright striped fabrics and used them for the rails. Using the two darker strips on the outside and rotating each block gives the illusion that this is woven instead of machine pieced together.

I still have a whole box of strips left over from this quilt. Was going to give them away but think I'll keep them and see what else I can do with them.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sunday Picnic

There are few things as beautiful as Sydney Harbour on a sunny Sunday afternoon. So we decided to go down to the Point for a picnic, complete with champagne and yummy things to spread on biscuits. We spread out the quilt, divided up the weekend paper and sat back to relax and enjoy the view.

Then it was time for the requisite snooze -- and this is what I looked up to see:
And, yes, the sky is really that blue ... maybe bluer.

More people started to come, all poshed up and talking amongst themselves. Some musos arrived but instead of an impromptu concert we were in the cheap seats for someone's wedding! Here is a photo that their photographer probably missed ...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

New Zealand has brought out my fascination with all things volcanic. This is a photo of a gas vent through a pool of water (or some chemical-rich version of water). I had to be patient and wait for the steam from its neighbours to blow in the right direction so I could get the chemical deposits around the vent.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Slipped the Surly Bonds

This is one of the quilts I'm working on for this year's Sydney Quilt Show. Believe it or not, this one isn't finished yet. It still needs some !zing! It's hard to tell from the photo, but this is a little one, about 30cm by 50cm.

Lisa brought be back a couple (or three) tonnes of lovely beads from her trip to Shanghai and Hong Kong so it's time to get serious about beading this one up. I have to show her that the extra heavy luggage and the extra trips to the physio were worth it!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Just Shoot Me

This is what happens when a certain blonde person offers to take your picture. I am usually not quite so blurry. And I have a face.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Store Beach, Manly Cove

I can never get enough of the sandstone on Australia's coast. It is so different from the steel gray granite that I grew up around in Connecticut.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wild Grasses

This quilt is from a challenge to use the threads in a packet from The Thread Studio in a quilt. You had to use some of each of the 5 threads and could add whatever else you wanted. Each packet came in a different colourway ... mine was copper-ish.

The threads were similar in colour but different in texture: ribbon, chenille, wool, knobbly string and a mixture of wool and the knobby string. I added some pearle cotton threads in similar but richer colours at the bottom. Sewing on the bottle-brush looking flowers was a difficult to figure out but turned out better than I expected.

Wild Grasses was exhibited at the Sydney Quilt Show in 2005, along with Red Rover, Red Rover, Let Kathryn Come Over!, the quilt from a recent post.

This quilt was inspired from this photo of some wild grasses glistening the sunlight from somewhere near the Bay of Islands in New Zealand.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Morning over Lake Rotorua

Taken from a sea plane as we headed towards the 8 km crater rift of Mt Tarawera early one morning.

Sea of Tranquility

Sometimes there is an upside to washing the dishes.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Red Rover, Red Rover, Let Kathryn Come Over!

One of the local groups I belong to does a challenge every year with the unveiling around the same time as the Canberra Quilt Show. One year the challenge theme was 'Red and White'. As usual, I faithfully collected red fabrics and waited until the last possible minute to actually get started. This design was born of a creative burst sparked by an immovable deadline.

My friend Kathryn had come to Sydney for the unveiling and spent the night before handing me pieces to sew together so that I had a top for the unveiling the next day. The white bits were supposed to all go in the same direction but one row got 'translated' in the late night sewing frenzy.

Here is the finished quilt that I entered into the Sydney Quilt Show last year (June 2005). The title of the quilt is based on a game I played a lot when I was in primary school.

And here is a close-up of the quilting. I quilted the entire thing by machine using variegated cotton or rayon threads. The pattern wasn't marked in advance. I did the circles from the back using the polka dots on the backing fabric as a guide and just free machine quilted the rest making it up as I went along.

This is also a UFO (unfinished object) because I am in the process of adding beads and square sequins to it, especially along the swirls of machine quilted circles, to see if I can liven it up a bit.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Round and Round She Goes ...

Ever wonder what gets propped against a barn at horse ridding schood?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

More Felt Pieces

This piece was inspired by the photos on the NASA site, Astronomical Photo of the Day. Every time I try to find the actual photo, I get completely distracted by the photos of nebulae and galaxies and the surfaces of distant moons.

These two pieces were made by adding a thin strip of plastic between the layers of wool fibres. They acted as a resist to keep the layers of fibres from felting to each other.

Considering where I put them and where they ended up, the resists moved around quite a bit during the constant rolling of the felting process. To find them after the felting was completed, I had to stab the felt with a pin.

After cutting the felt and removing the resists, I hand-felted the edges. Next time I'll use drinking straws for resists so that I get a bigger resist space and have edges that add some dimension to the piece.

This last piece is the runt of the litter. It was my first attempt and simply didn't want to turn into felt. And when it did decide (finally) to turn into felt, it shrank one direction lots more than in the other ... with the exception of one corner. Very fine silk scarves are felted into the top of this one.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Felting Workshop

I recently spent the weekend at a felting workshop with Fiona Wright.

We used hand-dyed wool tops in a rainbow of colours to layer on top of cotton voille and added silks and other bits and pieces on top. Add a protective synthetic fabric on top, lots of hot water and diswashing soap and roll the lot up into a matchstick blind. Roll until your arms are tired, adding more hot water as you go and rotate the pieces every 100 rolls or so.

When I unrolled each felted piece, I was amazed at how each turned out -- totally different than I had imagined. Here are some more pieces I made that weekend.