Sunday, February 26, 2006

Playing with fire

I've been playing with fire but it's still not flamelike enough for me so it might be time to put it aside for a while. I've had slightly more success with developing my blog button:

Lisa Call very kindly shared with me the trick of modifying the html code so that it shows up in a post but there were unintended formatting consequences for the rest of my blog - my side bar ended up way at the bottom of the page :-( So, until I work this out, please e-mail me if you would like the html. Otherwise, it has not been a very productive weekend...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Up in Smoke

Well I managed to ruin fire yesterday with some ill-advised insertions. So often, less is more and more is less (And no I'm not going to show you because it may turn into a phoenix yet.) I'm going to start it over again and try not to overthink it this time. Fortunately the pieces are only 30cm square.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

earthwaterfire work in progress

So this is a sneak preview of how the three pieces might look together. I finished piecing water today but still have some work to do on fire. I would prefer there to be more contrast between earth and fire but hopefully the quilting will enhance the earth tones and play up the oranges in fire.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Water, water, everywhere

I know I said good things come in threes but this is ridiculous:

I'm working on the middle part of my earthwaterfire triptych and here are three possible colour/layer compositions. (Yes, the digital camera audition comes to the rescue again ! ) I'm concerned that putting a dark layer in the middle cuts the quilt in half visually. So I'm going to put this aside for a while to ponder...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Good things come in threes

Here is the first (unquilted) part of my earthwater fire triptych. I'd love to spend the day on the other pieces but I'm off to Sydney to start processing entry forms for the Sydney Quilt Show...One of the good things about being Exhibition Secretary is that I get a sneak preview of all of the lovely quilts.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Very Useful Gift

I was reading Melody Johnson's blog, Fibermania, back in January (her 27 January post to be precise) in which she remarks:

The digital camera really has made such a difference in the way I work these days, with opportunities to change the way I view something or by printing out the image and making changes on the paper before I do it on the final piece.

It got me thinking about how much the digital camera has become integral to my own quiltmaking activities. Not only is it great for taking photos of quilts-in-progress and finished quilts so that I can share them with others by e-mail or by posting them on the web, but other handy uses include:

  • auditioning fabrics from my stash for potential projects - both colour and grey scale photos are great ways of checking whether you have a good mix of values or if a particular fabric is going to leap out at you;
  • when required, taking photographs of fabrics to send to the recipientof the proposed quilt to check that it will fit in with their decor (not that I often give people this choice!);
  • auditioning block/colour placement in the course of quilt construction - you can photo all the different combinations; choose the one you like the best and refer back to that photo as you put the quilt/blocks together;
  • checking block/colour placement as you go along . You don't even need to take a photo for this - just looking through the lens can be enough to show you something is not quite right;
  • making a reference shot of block/colour placement so that I can freeup the design wall for other projects (I'm not a one-quilt-at-a-time kind of quiltmaker!);
  • auditioning borders - I take photos of my completed quilt centres,and import them into my EQ5 software. By using the appropriate scale, I can then mock up different size/multiple/colour/ style borders. This how I came up with the border in my Banana Flower Paradise quilt - I love how the border echoes the fringe of a banana leaf;
  • incorporating a photo of some or all of the quilt for the quilt label which I print up on fabric sheets in my inkjet printer;
  • incorporating photos into my quilts; and
  • last, but not least, my digital photo albums represent my own little inspiration bank overflowing with design, palette, subject and composition ideas.

My digital camera was given to me as a farewell gift when I resigned as a partner in a law firm in 2003. It's not a fancy model but it gets constant use. The law firm is holding an inaugural alumni event next week (I'll be the one not wearing a suit although I promise not to wear my usual swimsuit/shorts attire) so I'll be sure to tell them what a useful gift it has been.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cover Girl

Today I received my copy of issue No 94 of the Down Under Quilts magazine which not only contains a profile of yours truly but features one of my quilts on the cover. What a thrill! I am especially pleased at how well my quilts have been photographed. Thank you to Erica and the DUQ team.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Playing Around

I thought I should do some more ATCs for the swap this Saturday:

The Copacabana waves proved to be a great opportunity to try out the braiding (couching) foot that I bought 18 months ago on a creative impulse.

I also made this "Earthlines" postcard from some experimental piecing that I had lying around:

All good fun but I think I prefer working with a larger medium...

Monday, February 13, 2006

I surrender!

To date I have steadfastly resisted the current craze for quilted postcards and artist trading cards. Partly because I've never been a particularly trendy person and partly because I don't have much aptitude for embellishment (quilted or otherwise!). And so it was rather rash of me to agree to participate in my guild's forthcoming ATC swap and also to provide a postcard for the Crystal Serenity 2006 World Cruise "A World of Color: Art, Craft, and Quilt Project" but here are my results to date:

Perhaps the element of rarity will make my ATCs especially collectible?!

You will see that I soon gave up on trying to add facial features. Also, you will see that I have made a Valentine's Day bookmark for David. Not that I am a big fan of Valentine's Day but it's an anniversary of sorts for us so we always like to celebrate on 14 February in our own small way.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Getting Synched

At last I have been able to take some photos and update my website to feature more completed quilts, some of which have been finished for quite a while! New quilts include:

Rainforest Rhapsody


Elsie Joyce


Click on the quilts to link through to the website for more images.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Let's Talk

Late last year, I participated in the Friday Showcase program organised by The Quilters Guild of NSW and presented a selection of my quilts along with an account of my personal quilting journey. It was such a positive experience with many in the audience making kind comments and sharing their own insights. I really appreciated the supportive feedback from traditional, contemporary, novice, and experienced quiltmakers alike. Thus emboldened, while I was visiting my local library this morning, I casually mentioned that I would be happy to bring some of my quilts in one day and talk about them if that would be of any interest. Talk about a positive response! The librarian was most enthusiastic and so we have agreed that I will come in at 10.30am on Monday, 27 March 2006 to make a similar presentation and to discuss some of the books that have provided inspiration and guidance along the way. What fun!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

By way of background

Armed with Melody Johnson's guide for The Lazy Dyer , I spent a wonderful day playing with dyes and fabrics in my garden yesterday and here are some of the results:

I'll spare you any photos of my shoulders which I sunburnt to a particularly vibrant shade of pink. Ouch!

I also took the opportunity to try out my new fabric paints . I propose the use the following pieces as backgrounds for some postcards.




Spring Growth



Saturday, February 04, 2006

Waving Not Drowning

Well I have decided to take the plunge and to hold a patchwork and quilting workshop here on the Central Coast. Appropriately enough, I have chosen my "Making Waves" workshop which involves using fabric stacks, freeform cutting and a curved piecing technique. Once mastered, this technique will be useful in a range of improvisational projects including wavy variations of traditional 9-patch and log cabin blocks. Examples of this technique in action include my Summer Meadow, Warm Vibrations and Making Waves quilts shown below:

By the way, the workshop is at Terrigal Rotary Hall (a lovely, clean, light and airy venue) on 7 April 2006, 9.30am-4pm. Please e-mail me for more information or check out my website.

Minding Your Ps & Qs

Have you noticed the proliferation of labels that can apply to those caught up with the world of patchwork, quilting and textile art? For example:
  • stitcher
  • sewer (unfortunate-looking when written down)
  • patchworker
  • quilter
  • quiltmaker
  • art quilter
  • fibre artist
  • textile artist
  • etc

For myself, I prefer the term "quiltmaker" - it's simple, descriptive and functional. Kind of how I like my quilts.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Parlez-vous francais?

I do. Or at least I used to. With a sojourn in France coming up in May 2006, I thought I should brush up on my French and expand my vocabulary to include a few quilting and textile terms. And so I am off to my local community college for nine evening classes starting next week. Today I purchased the compulsory text, French for Starters. It looks slightly more basic than I was aiming for but I shall withhold judgment until I have attended a class or two (and see just how much I have forgotten).

The trip to France is our part of a non-simultaneous home and car exchange. We had two couples staying at our home while we were away in December. Apart from a few technical glitches - trying to explain our multi-remote, home theatre system was obviously way too ambitious - everything seemed to go smoothly and our visitors got to enjoy the beach and surrounding area. For our part, we get to enjoy Europe in the spring and will be spending 2+ weeks in the French Pyrenees; 10 or so days in the Yorkshire Dales; 2 days in Edinburgh and a week or so visiting friends and family in the London area. We were last in Europe in 1999 so we are looking forward to our adventure.