Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Feel A Play Day Coming

The weather is getting warmer - more spring-like - and I bought some crochet cotton on TradeMe, just so I can doing some thread dyeing.
Such a neat selection to use:
crochet cotton for dyeing
I think that I will have to make up some hanks and try out some fabric paint, some ink and some dye. Having some variegated will be exciting - I can hardly wait - but first I have to finish the fish (it's currently being blocked ready for trimming and binding) and The Western Front.
Do you see that roll of thread on the left? It's a pale variegated viscose unopened and still in it's wrapper. I bought some years ago. It's really good to use in the bobbin as a decorative thread or any hand-stitching (not that I do much of that!).
I feel some fun coming on! Better get some friends to make it an even better day!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Workshop and Play Day

Yesterday I was in a workshop under the tutelage of Mariya Waters - we were playing with decorative threads.
I chose to do the fish design and here is what I finished the day with:
The wider thread was couched on after stitching the placement from behind. The fish is stitched with 2 threads wound together, one of them being a metallic.  Everything has been stitched from the backing fabric where the pattern was drawn on:
I have a little bit more of the decorative thread to stitch on (from the bobbin) and then the quilting.
I had a great day and was pleased with the amount of work achieved. It was great to not have to worry about fabric, the pattern was already drawn up and I could get a reasonable amount of stitching done.
The front fabric was a commercial tie-dyed piece that I over-painted - the balance between the light/dark colours was too extreme, so I mixed up some blue paint and had a very pleasing finished product.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Go Manawatu!

Phew! last night after a late (5 minutes to final whistle) try, the Manawatu Turbos (local provincial rugby team) won their game against Tasman 27/23. We have played 9 games, winning 7 of them and losing 2, so we are at the top of the ITM Cup Championship Table with 33 points (actually those points are better than the teams in the Premiership - top echelon teams). You will find a commentary here.
Next weekend we play the Hawkes Bay team, Magpies.
Palmerston North skyline

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

About Self-Doubt and Entering Competitions

I have read a couple of blogs recently where people talk about how hard it is to pluck up the courage to enter competitions or shows. So I thought I would open up a little to my experience (well, I have been quilting for 13 years and enter a few competitions, so I have a little knowledge, ha!).

I struggle with making traditional quilts now. I have done that in the past, but get bored very easily, cutting, cutting, cutting, then sewing, sewing, sewing. Also I sometimes often have a problem with understanding the instructions - in the early days, I couldn't figure out the instructions for making flying geese, but knew how to make 1/2 square triangles. Join 2 together, and viola! a flying goose! Now that I know how to make them a couple of different ways, they are my favourite block. I still like to have something traditional in my art quilts and the lessons I have learned stand me in good stead for accuracy.

I often have that big self-doubt on my shoulder. BUT, with baking and quilting, and especially my art quilting, it gives me the chance to play and make for me - making for someone else again makes me nervous and doubt myself.

I do like to enter into competitions with quilts, because it's MY learning time. I get to have an independent critique - I decided that the judge doesn't know me as a person so they are not criticising me (even though it is MY work). Any good judge should be able to encourage and find the positive aspects as well as letting you know how you can make your quilt/quilting better.

It's best not to stand near your quilt when it's hung in a show, because, believe me, that's when you don't hear the good comments, and that can really put a dent in your confidence.

YOU should compare yourself with only YOUR work.  It is YOUR quilting journey and you determine the road traveled and the speed (just like stippling!).

I have one of my first quilts hanging on the wall - I had no idea how to do the binding, so only did a single fold - well, you know what happens with the reverse side when you machine stitch it - the folded edge often doesn't get caught down. I took this particular wall-hanging off the wall to wash it and put it on a new hanger - but have left the back binding as is, to remind me of how far I have come!

If your quilt is accepted into a show or challenge - well done! No matter the final outcome, you haven't failed by entering. Getting a piece accepted anywhere in quilting means that you have done something GOOD and others LIKE your work.

I think that if it gives pleasure and meaning to just one other person - mission is achieved!

Go hug yourself and be kind to yourself.
Lime cupcakes (left) & almond cupcakes

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Photos Are Up

Leah has the photos of her choices for the 9 x 12 Transformation Challenge.
Go here to have a look - it's her Monday 21 August post. If you click on each quilt you get to have a really good look at them. At least 5 of Leah's quilting designs were to be used (you had to name them), but you could interpret the theme, 'the art of transformation and change' in any way.
And please, leave a comment on their web site - it's really encouraging!

Monday, August 22, 2011

My 9 x 12 Quilt Has Been Accepted!

Yes, Leah let me know this morning that my quilt has been accepted into her Transformation Challenge.
Congratulations to all the other finalists.
Not all the links to the other blogs are working yet and Leah hasn't got the photos loaded onto her site, but if you click here, it will take you through to the right place!
Here is my entry, again!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Winter Wonderland

We have lived in Palmerston North for almost 20 years, and this is the first I have seen snow falling in the Manawatu. I had to drive home with the car like this after 1.5 hours of snowfall:
And as fast as I was scraping off the snow so that I could put the car in the garage, the snow drifts were forming again!
The hens were still sheltering under the hedge (where I fed them - they will probably be better off there for the night, than trying to get back to their house), and the lambs were trying to find something to eat:

According to the weather forecast, the next few hours are not going to get better.
Pumpkin soup for tea I think!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Milestone Has Been Reached!

Yes, this is my 400th post! Amazing really, even if it has taken a while to get here, but I do remember that I didn't even WANT to start a blog (another story in another lifetime).
So today's other news.
I have finished (label and hanging sleeve included) my Gallipoli wall-hanging. It measures 59.8cm x 105cm - a little bit longer than intended (I did want to keep it in the 1000cm length, but it didn't 'shrink' as much as I thought, with the quilting), but it is only 5cm longer than the other 4. I have 'made' fabric - the daisy fabric for the letters in Gallipoli - printed photos onto fabric, painted fabric and heavily machine quilted it.
Here is New Zealand's Gallipoli Campaign 1915:
Here is some detail - I hand stitched the statistics over some fabric which I had painted:
This block is also hand quilted (!) with a chicken scratch stitch - the stitches are probably a little big, but only by mere millimeters! This block is the cover from a 'magazine' the soldiers designed and had printed when they were convalescing in London during the war.
I have started work on the Western Front quilt and am designing one for my Grandpop, who was in the Medical Corps, based in Egypt, France and England during World War One.
It bothers me that people have asked 'how many' am I going to make and 'why'.
Do they ask an artist why they paint?
This is no different to me - sewing is my canvas, and I want to capture some of the images that stand out and make me think about how history has shaped our lives and this country.
OK - off my soapbox now!
Also made some tamarillo jam today - yummy!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

There Are Two Things Going On Here

Take a close look -
the magpie is helping itself to the coconut fibre from the flower baskets (do you think it'll use some of Chloe's shed fur as well?),
and the neighbour's cat is being courageous!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday Snapshots - Colour in Winter

When it's overcast or wet outside and it makes your day seem so very grey, take a look at the colour that is in the garden.
Here are some photos taken this week and will brighten up a miserable winter's day:
daffodils under the fence  

fancy pants camellias!
naked purple magnolia
white magnolia
new leaves on photinia hedge
Blue's beady eye and red wattle

Friday, August 5, 2011

Oops! I Almost Forgot...

that I'd won the second prize Pamper Hamper at Rangitikei Quilt Show. I couldn't remember what the other prizes looked like, but I sure was impressed with the main one, so put all my tickets (only 3 of them) into the Pamper Hamper box. After the show, I received a phone call to say I'd won second and the prize would be dropped off for me in town. Well, last night I got to pick it up, and here it is:
They did a fantastic job in putting together such a lovely range of products (3 hampers - the gardening, fabric and pamper). All the products were donated. And someone has made a beautiful job of packaging them up, and then the note on front:
Well done, Rangitikei Country Quilters - a great show, well laid out, thoughtful little details like chocolates for the vendors, and fantastic raffles (actually I think they put Rose City Quilters in shadow, we'll have to work better at what we present in future!).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sunday Snaps and Painting

Sunday was a lovely day weather-wise, so I got some fabric painting done and left it outside to dry.
Here is a tie-dyed piece that I thought I would use for an upcoming decorative thread class with Mariya Waters, but it needed to be darkened and bluer.
So from this:
to this:
The lighter/yellow areas still show through but the contrast is not so great now.
I also over-painted some very light blue fabric with an olive green paint I mixed up from yellow and purple. I squeezed the paint through the wet fabric then lay it on the grass to dry - it dried streaky but I like the look of it.
 And this is the lovely view these cows have - you may be able to see Mt Ruapehu in the far distance, sorry that the light is so bright and there are no shadows - but it was a lovely day!