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February 2008
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April 2008

March 2008

A milestone

Well I got through Easter but didn't complete those things I wanted to.  It always happens like that. 
I have designed five windows for the bricks and block quilt and have one fused ready to sew.


I have finished the drawings for the others but they will have to go on the back-burner as I have to get the first row done for an 'add-a-line' quilt that I said that I would take part in.  (I take no notice of the sign on my apron that says "Stop me if I volunteer!")

We had a lost youngster in our yard.  All the neighbours were there, he was making soooo much noise.
This morning he was still squawking and woke everyone very early.  Then Mum and Dad turned up and took him home.  Thank goodness!


Happy Easter

Happy Easter.  If you are like me part of this Easter holidays will be spent sewing.  I have a quilt I'm working on which was going to be a quick project but, as you do, I thought of other ways to make it more complex.  Now it is turning into a major project.  I have all the blocks sewn and trimmed ready to sew together.  What I haven't done is the view through the windows.  I should explain.  I am trying to tie all the odd fabrics together with a central square which is the same in every block.


I am using only the squares of fabric given to me by friends.  The central square is from my stash.  When I drew up my plan I thought that those central squares looked like windows looking out into the sky so I thought that I would but windows scattered throughout the quilt and scenes, in some of the blocks, that you could look at through those windows.  The others I plan to quilt the pattern of the fabric.  Now I have to draw some scenes.  I want them to be abstract, like the fabric and I have lots of ideas.  Deciding which ones to select will be the problem.

The other project I'm working on is an extension exercise for my students who have finished their work.  I have already introduced them to applique and they have just about finished a draw string bag with on applique on one side to put their next garment we are making in.  But I can see some students getting this finished in the next lesson.  So I thought that I would use the little thread bags that I made for my friends last Easter.  These were made out of recycled fabric and filled with Easter eggs.  When all the eggs were gone they then became thread bags.


I kept this left over one, which wasn't as well finished as the others for myself.  They are based on a traditional Japanese design and are usually sewn by hand.  As I had 25 to make I worked out a way to do it on the machine.   I made another one today and I'm not sure but I think they may be a bit difficult for 13 year olds who are beginners.  I have edited the instructions to try and make them understandable for young sewers but they require a level of spacial understanding.  Most people can not visualise in 3D.  It is really hard.  So these instructions have to overcome this problem.  (I am going to try and insert the file in this post. )
Download thread_bags.doc


I have started to decorate this bag with beads.  There are lots of ways to dress them up and they make great gifts.

A treasure

I thought I would try a new look.  I'm going to spend some time with my friend Di Mill and work out how to do these designs myself.  I tried asking my Computer Scientist son but his response was "just Goggle it Mum."

I had a comment from Liz about 'Sewing in days past' and got to thinking about all those past students who discovered a love of sewing.  I have a pin cushion on my desk that was made from me by one of those students about 15 years ago.  Every time I look at it I see the joy on the face of that teenager.  I sometimes run into her in a fabric shop.  She is an adult now and that love of sewing continues.


One more day

Only one more day and it is Easter.  It is not the end of term as this year they have split Easter and the school holidays.  The school holidays will occur two weeks after Easter but I am looking forward to the four day break.  I intend to use the time planning all the sewing that I have to do during the holidays!

After these holidays the weather usually cools down a bit and it is time to make a new lot of clothes.  I normally set my sights too high and don't get nearly the amount of work done that I want to and end up frustrated and unsatisfied.  I know that is what happens, I hope I can change that this year.

I am progressing with the sewing of the bricks and blocks for my new quilt.  It really is a hotch potch.  All those different colours tend to look a bit muddy but I have some ideas on how to overcome that.


I also have some images of my Ukrainian Embroidery.  There is a museum in Melbourne that holds the originals pieces that inspired Gay Eaton to create these designs.   Dsc00585


Another piece of work

I have to get all my reports finished for school and get that assessment work marked.  It is that time of term when the pressure is on.

It's time to start thinking about what I will make for my sister for her birthday.  That isn't until November but thinking takes some time and the doing even longer.  I made her a cover for her sewing machine and over-Dsc00527 locker last year.  I found the design in an old magazine and it's by Mums Moments. I just used the original idea when I made the over-locker pattern.  I could do with a new machine cover myself.


Sewing in days past

I have a print of a painting in my studio by Hans Heyson.   It is one he did of his wife sewing clothes for their children.  The sewing machine still sits under the window in that room and the same light streams through the window.  Hans collected the most wonderful textiles from around the world and although his art is preserved the same can not be said about his wonderful textile collection.  It slowly decays. What a waste.


Some of my year 9 students came to me today to tell me that their parents are going to buy them a sewing machine because they love sewing.  I am so glad I'm back in the class room when things like this happen.


It is almost a year since I moved into my studio and now I think it is time to reorganise.  I had always had the room that hadn't been renovated in other words the junk room.  The place no one else wanted.  When this room was being renovated  I had to move all my materials into the dining room.  (The dining room still isn't renovated.)

My husband has been renovating this house for over 20 years.  I have given up on it ever being finished.


Last year I decided that I would take matters into my own hands and thought about what I needed to be able to live in this house.  What I came up with was a kitchen that wasn't made up of secondhand pieces.  I did have to make some compromises, like keeping my old stove and refrigerator.


All the rooms in the original upstairs part of the house had to have the floors polished.  Three of these had already been done so that only left the 4th bedroom, my studio and the hall.  This doesn't sound much but we have a huge house.  It must have been quite splendid when it was built back in 1890, but, when we bought it, it was a rabbit warren of appartments.  We had 3 kitchens and bathrooms all over the place.  The hall runs for 14 metres. (There's a bit around the corner.)


My studio was the original dining room.  It was linked to the front sitting room (which is now my bedroom) by an internal door.  This had been blocked up by the time we bought the house but the house next door, which is the same, has the original  dining and sitting rooms.  Everything else in that house is different from the original.  It originally had a window that went to the floor leading out onto the verandah but this was replaced with a door. 

It was so neat and tidy when it was first finished.  Oh dear what has happened?

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Well, my stash got a bit bigger, those draws are sagging, and I added a computer desk to house the MAC.
I put the printer on top of the stash and all this other stuff behind the door.  I now have to use the time before and after school, when I am not preparing lessons, to sew.  So this area also is a mess and I have never got around to getting the doors for the bookcase. They were out of stock when I bought them and I have kept putting it off.  God! Look at the desk! Well it's the desk or sewing.  Sewing wins.

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I am putting together a new unit of work on Fashion for my senior students and have hit a wall.  This wall takes the form of a block put up by the Department of Education on all blogs, including all those wonderful ones by young designers and fashion related shows and the block also includes related web pages.  There is so much happening in the world of textiles and I really want my students to connect to it.  So how am I going to get around this?

I thought of giving them a list of blog sites that they could investigate at home but I could be doing something illegal here and be prosecuted.  So I think that I will have to come up with a Keynote or Power point presentation.  This is going to be a major, major, project. There are a whole lot of skills that I have to learn, like how to embed movies into presentations and then there is the copyright issues involved. Plus, this presentation will be out of date very quickly and I will have to start again, it will not be a resource I can reuse.  I can't see me getting it ready in time for next terms class,  maybe semester 2.  Problems like this drive me mad!!!

I found these chooks that I had done for that Sustainablility unit I created using recycled fabrics for appliques.  They are a good exercise to teach using machine blanket stitch for attaching applique.


I like the work of local artist Philippa Webb and these chooks were inspired by her painting "Run Romeo Run".  Her work is available at the State Library in the form of greeting cards and I know she does quite a bit of commission work.  I found this image of one piece of her work in the library of NSW.


A new quilt

I have started a new quilt based and the bricks and blocks design.  I'm not quiet sure how it is going to turn out as all the fabric is from pieces given to me by friends.  The unifying part will be the centre square which is blue.  I have already named it blue skys, so I hope it doesn't turn into a UFO!

It is interesting just what inspires a person to create a quilt, often it is a book or something we have seen someone else do.  One of the books that I have found very inspiring is The quilt-makers Gift.   I bought the book 'Quilts from the quilt-makers gift' a number of years ago and just had to have the children's book.  It sits on my shelf waiting for the grandchildren who haven't been born yet.

As my niece and nephew have had children I have made each a quilt.  This one I made for my nephews little girl Skye.  I used the Bear's paws' block and sky like coloured fabrics for the main motif.Sc00519a1c_2_2


At the time I wasn't well and I found that my dyxlesia had returned, full blown.  This of course isn't good when you have to have accurate measurements and construction.  I reversed all the patterns, put the measurements back to front and couldn't see what I had done wrong.  Luckily I made a number of trail blocks first so was able to work this out before I got too far along.  This left me with extra blocks so I used some of them to make a tote bag to put the quilt in for storage over the summer months.  This is a traditional quilt that I think Skye will be able to take with her into her adult years.



I have so much work to do with getting the photos of my past work into order.  One thing I found was some work I did on recycling.  This is a year 10 unit I teach on sustainability.  We spend to much on recycling glass but when it comes to textiles less than 4% are recycled.  Most end up in land fill.

These items were all made from old textile samples from the 70's.  When I got them they smelt of damp and looked as though they would only be good enough for rags.  There wasn't much metreage in any of them so they had to be pieced.  All ended up as usable items.  What a waste it would have been to throw them out.
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