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July 2009

June 2009

Some new Quilts

It has nearly been 2 weeks since my last cottage patchwork groups meeting and I have been meaning to put up some of their quilts.

The first is the add a line that a group of us have been working on.  Chris has her's finished because she is visiting a grand-daughter in England.  I love this white background.  It makes things look so fresh.


And Ros has been churning out quilt tops, I don't know where she gets the time.  I like this one for the kids. And the second was bright.

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We plan to do a workshop at our retreat and Jean Green is teaching this quilt as you go.  It is really big so I think I will make mine a bit smaller.


Wonderful kid

Unfortunately I can't show you any of my students on my blog because it is against the law here in Queensland without the written permission of the parent or guardian.  But let me tell you about Rose (that is not her real name).  She is an indigenous student who has the cards stacked against her but despite this she always has a smile and is positive.  I had her in my textile class last year and because of financial problems at home was unable to provide any equipment so I provided it for her.

She has become a really accomplished sewer.  This year she designed the pillow applique for her Quillo and finishing her piece first in the class.  There is no sewing machine at home or anyone who can help her.  She has done it all herself.  She told me today that her grandmother is taking her and her brothers, including a 6 month infant, to live with her in North Queensland because they are not being looked after properly.  This is one special girl who has drugs and drink thrust at her all the time and she still has the strength to refuse and keep going.  I will say a  prayer for her and trust that God will bless her and keep her.  She is an inspiration.

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A cranky old woman

I think that is what I'm becoming.  We went out with our children and their respective boy and girl friends to celebrate my husband's birthday.  My daughter had booked and pre-paid for us to have a meal and see a show at the Brisbane Jazz Club.  When we got there they had lost our booking (but not our money) and said that we could have our money back or sit out on the concreted area at the front of the club.  There were plastic chairs and tables and they would light a brazier.  (It was a really cold night to be out doors.)


Well by this time we would not have got in anywhere else so we sat out on the concrete.  Problem was they couldn't get the brazier going, we had to do that ourselves.  We couldn't hear the band because we were behind them and then to top everything off every time a ferry pulled in at the jetty we had to pull up our feet and grab our hand bags as the water washed over the concrete floor and threatened to wash the chairs and tables away!


The only good thing about the whole night was the lights of the city across the river reflected in the river.  This was beautiful.  The old colonial 'Customs House' all lit up and the high rise behind.


Saving a disaster

My colleagues told me that I shouldn't try and teach 13 year olds to use the over-locker but I wouldn't be told.  I have 24 students, all of this age, sewing hoodies from stretch material.  I teach them to cut out their pattern, how to use the stitches on the machines for garment construction and then how to use the over-locker for neatening the seams.  You don't really have to do this with stretch fabric but I believe that the work they produce would be wearable and have a professional finish.  Also, everyone finishes their garment.

Well I suppose it was bound to happen with that many teenagers in one room.  I keep a close eye on all the students who don't have good skills but one of my best students got the main part of her garment caught.  When we unpicked her work there was this great big hole in the front!  Tears, despair, shock horror!!!!  All of these will not fix the hole. I tried to console her by saying how clever she was to put this in the front not the back.

So How did I fix it ?  Firstly I patched the hole using some spare fabric and a stretch stitch.  (You can see from this photo how big the hole was.)


Then I took a piece of fabric with the pattern on it and scanned this into my computer.


I cropped this to get an exact copy of one of the stars, then inserted the image into a document, (Word or Pages) and came up with 3 stars of different sizes.  I used some matching plain coloured stretch fabric, along with scraps from the garment and, using fisofix, ironed this to the back of each piece.  (You could use Misty Fuse or any other double sided iron on adhesive.)  These were then positioned over the patch and sewn into position.

I used a raw edge method to sew them on and hopefully the edges will lift and become a bit raggy after washing.

The end result? One saved piece of work and everyone wanted this on their hoodie.


This student never wanted to use an overlocker again however, with some encouragement, she has overcome her fear.   But she will always check where she is sewing in future.

Keeping my head above water, just!

I am still in there.  Working like a slave and wondering just why.  I think that it just about time for me to try a new direction.  My daughter-in-law to be is also a teacher, but I don't know how much longer she will last either.  The large classes, pressure of work, lack of resources and ever increasing work load along with the growing numbers of students with learning needs is taking it's toll.  I now have classes where the numbers of students who have special needs or need learning support out number the normal student.  What a shame.  I love teaching and the kids.  I love teaching textiles and design but I am beginning to think that I should do it somewhere else other than in a school.

My friend sent me a picture of the birds in her backyard.  I seem to leave for work before the birds arrive and get back after they have gone to bed.



Shop1   I am working and extra 3 or 4 hours a day to try and get all my work finished by June 26 when I am off the Sydney to take a workshop at Mosman Needlework with Christine Bishop and visit my sister at the same time.  I don't think I'm going to get my quilt finished in time.  I am up to sewing the blocks together and find it is much larger than I first thought.

Among other things I am working on next semesters lessons.  This is a lot of work as I have written new courses of both Year 9 and 10 Home Economics, from scratch plus teaching Hospitality courses for the first time.  My unit on 'Totally Teen' has as it's textile assessment item 'Recycling and Refashioning'.  I have just come across a wonderful list of Ideas on the "Sew, what's new?" web site. (This is a social network site.)


They have two pages of Refashion & Recycle. 

There are great links to You tube so that I (you) can download them and show them to the class.  Kids today are very visual and for them a picture (or video) is worth a 1,000 words.

I am going to have to put my free patterns on hold till I get through all this but plan to catch up in the school holidays.

Very slow progress

I think that I must be going through some kind of crisis,  I have so much to do that I am immobilized!  I can not even tidy up the mess in my studio.  Things just keep mounting up.

I had planned to finish the quilt top for my nieces baby.  I do have it all cut and am over half way on the construction.  It is a Debra Feece design that is out of Fons& Ports Love of Quilting back in November/December 2006.  I want to take this with me to Sydney in three weeks time.


But, I keep getting side tracked.  Yesterday we went over to Coochiemudlo Island  for part of the day.  It started out sunny but then this monster storm hit just as we got onto the ferry.  The dogs had a wonderful day running on the beach. That meant baths when we got home and today my little Charlie is all alone as my daughter has taken her dog out for a sleep over.

The island is never the same.  I walked around the beach with the dogs and on the lee side the water was calm and glassey.  We have had lots of rain and the shore line has retreated.  Many of the beaches were scowed of sand and the red rocks were exposed.  The creeks are running again, which was an adventure for the dogs.


I checked out all my favourite wild hybiscus trees on the beach and they were alive with irridescent beatles.  These have the most beautiful colours.


And this time the mangrove trees are about to drop their seeds, just beautiful.



I am becoming overwhelmed with all the work I have to do at the moment.  It is nothing new, this is what I do, but, I find it so much harder now after being ill.  I think that it is time for me to start rethinking where I'm going.  I love teaching but I'm finding the pressure of work wearing.  I will finish the year at least and would like to get to the end of 2010.  That would get me to 25 years of teaching.

One of the ways that I cope with the pressure is with music.  At one point in my life I was going to be an Opera singer.  Again it was anxiety, this time about performance, that convinced me that this wasn't the right path.  But I still love music.  One of my favourite modern composers is Gabriel Yared.  You might know his film music, especially the music to "The English Patient" for which he won an Oscar and was nominated for Oscars for "Cold Mountain" and "The talented Mr Ripley".


Looking at his website, which is just a delight, I wonder what the great classical composers would have written if they had been born in this generation.  I think it would have been film scores.

Work again

Only three more weeks and it will be the end of semester.  Once again I have so much work and so little time.  I am also trying to get ready for the next semester and one of our units is about kids.  The practical assessment for textiles asks kids to make a toy and then analyse it in terms of how it relates to the areas of development.  Most of the students make a softy of some sort and I did a search to see where they could look for free patterns.  This site is fantastic.  I'm going to have to make some of these myself.  I want them as gifts but they are so cute I think I might have to make some to keep!

Dejiko Pinkcat

They also have the cutest little animals.  I think the kitten is my favourite.