Thursday, September 25, 2008

It was raining this morning so I went snail hunting again and bagged a record 203 snails (the previous total was 266 so the total is now 469).

I cleaned a couple of windows recently (those who know me will know how infrequent an occurence this is!) and they must have been really filthy because Russ actually noticed when he got home! Now of course the rest of the windows look worse than before because there is something better to compare them with.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Behind the scenes

Today has been a day of doing lots of little jobs that customers don't see. Taking photos of things to go on the website and writing the blurb to go with them for instance. I weigh the items and work out what packaging they'll need when they're mailed. I put all that info in a word document and then Russ takes all that info and actually puts it on the website. Sometimes I can pinch photos from the wholesalers website so that makes things easier, but it still takes almost as much time to search for the images and copy them as it would to take the photo myself.

I had to re-draw one of my documents this week because it was corrupted when my computer started failing (the backup was also corrupted). Which felt like a big waste of time. But at least only one document was damaged. Now that has been re-drawn I can get back to drawing new ones - which is a lot more satisfying.

The pictures are of the design "Winding Ways". I've always liked this design and am planning to make this one someday. English piecing is probably not the best method for this block because of the extremely narrow points - I'll probably either machine piece it or hand-piece it using the American piecing method. This is a Matilda's Own template set which I have just received into stock. You will be able to order it from the website soon.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Slowly sorting

After our bicycle ride this morning I bagged 53 snails (total now 266). This morning was a "tidying up loose ends" sort of day. Mailing off subscriptions to a couple of organisations that became due recently, paying a few bills, filing papers, that sort of thing. Generally trying to clear some of the piles of papers on my desk. I spent this afternoon cutting lots more red hexagons for Field of Diamonds so that I've got plenty of stitching for tonight and the weekend.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Snails - Again!

Bagged 103 this morning! That brings the total to 213 so far.

I'm going to visit my friend Irene this morning. I haven't seen her for ages so I'm really looking forward to catching up.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Snails, WAFTA and Advertising

As it rained a little overnight I went out snail hunting again after breakfast today. I bagged another 24 snails - which brings the total to 110 so far. The tomato seedlings chances are improving daily :-) I'm happy about the rain now our garden has all that mulch to soak it up.

Today I will be working on the newsletter for WAFTA, due to go out in early September.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gardening Update

The garden was still damp from last nights watering when we got back from our bicycle ride this morning so I went a-hunting. I bagged 84 snails! Actually the total count was 86 because I trod on 2. So now we'll see if the tomato seedlings fare any better.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gardening, not sewing

I have spent the last 2 days spreading 6 cubic metres of mulch - so I am shattered! I panicked a bit when I saw the size of the truck that pulled up. The driver was very kind and tipped it into 2 piles so that I didn't have to walk quite so far with every wheelbarrow load. Shame he didn't offer to spread it as well. At least the garden looks pretty good now and will retain any water put on it by the weather (or the reticulation) so we have a chance of the garden surviving the summer. We probably need another cubic metre to finish the last little bit round the back that you can't see. Russ helped for a little while yesterday morning but I did most of this by myself. I was so impressed with my efforts I just went out and took a couple of photos. The long skinny bit is our veggie patch and I dug out some very matted Oregano (very hard work!) before preparing the soil and then putting the mulch on this bit. The eggbox has tomato seeds in it but we have a sneaking suspicion that the snails are getting to them. The postbox photo shows the front of the house and the last photo shows the great long strip along the side of the house. One thing's for sure, I won't be buying a house on a corner block next time! Although there are advantages - only 2 adjacent neighbours for a start (who are lovely by the way).

Friday, August 22, 2008

Old Embroidery

Last Saturday I went to an open studio organised by WAFTA. We visited the Embroiderers Guild here in Perth to look at their textile collection and hear a talk by Valerie Cavill about conservation of textiles. It was a very informative session with lots to see. These photos are of Carrickmacross Lace, Irish Crochet Lace, Maltese Lace and Faggoting (Rouleau joined with needlelace).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mandala Series

This Mandala stitched on 2 layers of Tear Away Lite pulled a bit too but was "rescuable" with the iron and lots of pulling and tugging. I will do future ones using a machine embroidery hoop to prevent the distortion. I was trying to avoid that as some of the straight radiating lines are bigger than my largest hoop so I would have to move the hoop midway through a straight line and I thought stops and starts might create wiggles in the middle of the lines. I have sandwiched this one with some cotton wadding and am in the process of stitching on some sequins. This first one will be simply stitched in circles so I don't have to think about the design too much and can concentrate on the accuracy of the circles. I have lots of ideas for future ones including spirals and uneven division of the circle - so I don't think developing a series will present any problems.

Monday, August 11, 2008


It was just as I feared - the stitching pulled the work into a dome shape. Oh Bother! I thought. Or at least my thoughts were along the lines of Oh Bother :-) I have traced another circular grid onto Tear Away (Lite) and am currently stitching exactly the same design with the same fabric, same threads and same machine settings to see if that improves things. I used 2 layers of the Tear Away as I thought one layer might not be sufficient. I have stitched approximately 1/3 of the radiating lines so far and have a sneaking suspicion that this is going to pull in a bit too. I think it is a function of the radiating lines - ie proportionally there is more stitching per fabric area at the centre of the design compared to the outer ring. If this sample pulls significantly into a dome shape then I think the only solution will be to use a hoop when machine stitching this design. So I am prepared for the fact that I might have to stitch a 3rd sample before I get a satisfactory result.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Mandala Series

I have decided to create a series of Mandala. I need to think about where I'm going and what I'm doing as a textile artist so I thought a Mandala series might help as I meditate on this. I started the first one today. First I used CorelDraw to create a semicircular grid so that it fit on A3 paper. I printed 2 copies and taped them together to get the full circle. I traced the grid onto lightweight interfacing and pinned it to the back of the fabric. I stitched all the lines using a thread to match the fabric so that I could see the whole grid from the front. I have started to couch some metallic thread on the radiating straight lines from the front using a narrow zigzag stitch. I am a little worried that this circular quilt will become dome-shaped as I stitch but we shall see what happens.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

WAQA Friendship Day (Maddington)

Lizard of Oz was invited to be one of the shops at the WAQA Friendship Day held at the community centre in Yule St, Maddington last Saturday. This was an easy "appearance" as the car was still packed with all my goodies from the Hexagon Club Christmas in July meeting the day before. The other shops at the WAQA Friendship Day were Calico & Ivy (recently taken over by Debbie) and Kraft Daze owned by Jenny. There was a good turnout and I think the feedback was such that WAQA will hold perhaps 3 or 4 of these per year. The hall was great - plenty of space and quite light. There is a raised stage so it was easy to see all the Show & Tell. I didn't think about taking photos until late in the day when I suddenly remembered I had my camera with me. This is a photo of Rae with the quilt she made for her son about his desert adventures. Rae used Lizard of Oz Fusables for the geckos. As far as I can tell the difference between lizards and geckos is that lizards have toenails and geckos have rounded "sticky" toes. There was also a wonderful hexagon quilt by a lady who was an "original" (one of a group that started the WAQA many years ago) but she'd gone before I remembered my camera was in my bag.

Hexagon Club Christmas in July

The Hexagon Club invited me to bring my goodies along to their Christmas in July party last Friday. They had also invited the Mandurah group to join them for the day so there was a great crowd - so many they met in the main hall instead of the usual meeting room. There was a huge spread of food for Christmas lunch complete with little "puddings" covered in chocolate - yum - and Christmas crackers (bonbons). They kept me busy with my "shop" and I was a bit late remembering that I had actually got my camera with me so I didn't take many photos. This is Norma (not that you can see her!) with her Supernova table runner.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Field of Diamonds Progress

I had the chance to add quite a bit to this at the weekend. These are 3/4" hexagons. There are 59 red diamonds in my drawing so I only have 45 more to add on!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Voile Scarves Update

The light on these photos is really strange - I rushed outside to take a photo inbetween stormy showers so the sky was looming really dark. I grabbed them off the line and rushed back indoors just in the nick of time!

This top fabric has been randomly scrunched with elastic bands and dyed with Magenta, then rescrunched and dyed with Navy. The Magenta was too bright and pink for my liking so I overdyed the whole thing with a weak solution of Violet in an attempt to make the pink and blue become more purple overall.

This second fabric was folded in half across the width and then rolled diagonally over a cord which was pulled tight and tied into a ring. First dyed in Magenta and then retied and dyed in Navy. I also put this in the weak Violet dyebath as I didn't like the stark white areas. I do like the symmetrical pattern.

This third fabric was folded in half along the length and then twisted until it curled onto itself and looked like a skein. Magenta first, refolded and Navy added. Then undone and weak Violet added.

I may put a weak Navy or Cobalt Blue wash over all three. I have been making some stamps and may stamp over them as well. I haven't decided yet.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Customer blog referral

Boy it sure feels good when you stumble over a great referral about your products from a customer. I'm beginning to think Nicola has made more quilts from my shapes that I have! Check out the March 27 entry for

This is a photo of work in progress on a challenge at the Designing Women group I belong to. We all have the same size stretched canvas and have to produce a work which portrays what Piney Lakes means to us. To me, that Saturday meeting once a month is about thinking outside the square. I dyed the organza at a workshop and used it to make the squares on the painted background. I have stitched them down with invisible thread. Now they are attached I will do more embroidery. This is to be finished for our exhibition later this year.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Voile Scarves

I hemmed 5 pieces of cotton voile 2m long x width of fabric to turning them into scarves. I experimented with different hems. Then I experimented with ways of scrunching the fabric to form a resist to the dye on 3 of them. These 3 had a first dye bath of Magenta. I'm not sure I like Magenta - it's too much of a pink-red for my liking. I always planned to overdye them anyway. I had time to put one of them in the navy dyebath. This one was just scrunched and held together with elastic bands. I quite like it but I plan to overdye this in a weak solution of Violet to tone down the pinkness and make the navy more purplish. I hope :-) Depending on what happens with that will affect what I do with the 2 still soaking.

Field of Diamonds Progress

I have been steadily adding to the pile of red diamonds made from 9x three quarter inch hexagons. To make a quilt approximately 34" x 44" I am going to need 59 red diamonds and about 500 cream hexagons for the paths between them. So far I have made 35 diamonds so I need to make another 24. For these photos I laid them out with some cream hexagons in between to give an idea of what the layout "Field of Diamonds" will look like once it's put together.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Workshop with Seiji Konishi

Mr Seiji Konishi from Japan ran a one day workshop at the Atwell Art Centre Gallery (Western Australia) organised by WAFTA. Mr Konishi is a master weaver and sculptural basket maker teaching at the Kawashima Textile School in Kyoto, Japan. Mr Konishi supplied raffia and explained some construction techniques for coiling. It was a relaxing day with most students soon picking up the basics and then exploring what they could do with this simple natural material. Student works ranged from traditional-looking mini baskets to sculptural "playthings" which just invited the viewer to touch and rearrange them. I think most of us were thinking at some time during the day about what we could do with this technique using fabric and thread. Here are some photos of the student achievements made by the end of the day - mine is the one on a water bottle. It only goes half way up because that was as far as I got by the end of the day and I had to learn how to finish off!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Empty Ironing Basket

This is to prove I finished the ironing on 2 April 08.

Twenty four hours later they were full again!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Queen of the May is Bound

I have put the binding, sleeve and label on Queen of the May. I took some close ups of the quilting done by Nicola.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Queen of the May is quilted

Queen of the May is back from long-arm quilter extraordinairre Nicola Harman of Harmany Quilting in Boddington, Western Australia. I am really pleased with how this has turned out and would recommend Nicola to anyone. I will be spending the rest of this afternoon working on the binding and sleeve. I have just worked out that I have enough of the red to bind it (I think - it is going to be very close.) Here are some photos of the quilt prior to binding.