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June 2011

Back home

I don't think I want to go out driving again for a while.  The trip down to Sydney took 13 hours of driving and the trip home another 13 hours, although I stopped for the night at a motel on the return journey. The trip home seemed longer than the trip down. Big trucks, road works, accidents, dangerous drivers, I had them all.  I think I might have to replace my windscreen as it has so many chips in it.  But having said that I love the feeling of gliding along the road with the countryside flashing by.

I had a great time with my family and my niece loved the owl sweater I made for her little girl.  I also saw that a skirt I had made for my nephews daughter had been passed down through all the girls and the two year old was swirling away.  Now for some sleep.

Sinead in owl top

This serious soul (Sinead) can smile and she is the most gorgeous child.


Leaving on a jet plane.....I hope

I am off the Sydney for a week with my sister, I hope.  That ash cloud has returned but seems to be keeping to the south so I hope my flight misses it all but I have just heard that the cloud has now moved up over Canberra and all flights out of Sydney are cancelled. (I hope they don't cancel the ones coming in.)

Ash from Chile's Puyehue volcano is circling the globe a second time. (Reuters: Carlos Gutierrez)

I rang my friend Pammy yesterday and she said the wind was blowing in the Adelaide Hills and I see that Canberra has been warned there could be blizzards.  I think it is going to be cold down there south of the state border.  I made some new cord trousers, which I still have the hems to finish, but I think the thermals are called for.


The mornings here are rather brisk as well.  My computer told me it was 2 degrees C at 7am this morning.  But the skys are clear and at the moment there is no wind, which means that if you can find a sheltered spot, like my back garden, it is beautiful All the plants that like a bit of cold are flowering,


but turn their faces to find the sun.


I have spent the last couple of days cleaning up my back patio.  Taking those plants that have out grown the pots and put them in the garden, topping up the potting mix and adding some more plants like these roses.  Look at all those buds, there are 24 on this little bush.


I have finished another cardigan for my grand daughter.  I found some wool in my stash from a couple of years ago and had just enough to make this.  It took 2 trips to the shop to get the buttons, I have trouble counting!


I have also finished another owl sweater for my niece's little girl.

  But am having trouble deciding on the buttons for their eyes.


The other thing I have got started is my Xmas presents.  I like to make things for my friends but hand stitched embroidery takes time so I am starting now.  I thought that I would make Biscornus for some of my friends but they take so long to stitch and I have so many (35) to make. 


Back to the drawing board.

(I may not be able to post for the next week due to lack of internet.)


Pick a Pocket Challenge - Part 2

As promised here are some of the other pieces from the challenge. (You can click on the picture to get a larger image.)

"Mr Ollie"  (My favourite)



The Winner


Highly Commended



Judges Choice



Aukje Boonstra Tasmania "Filling Pockets is easy" No 1

Both of these pieces were inspired by the Bag and Purse museum in Amsterdam.

No 2


Virginia Koster Tasmania  "There are pockets at the bottom of the garden"


Fay Twining Tasmania  "Guaranteed to Snag"


Fay Twining " Pickie little bits"


Lois Ogden Victoria "Lady's Pocket"


There were other entries that I was unable to photograph.  I think the thing I found most interesting was how different each pocket was from each other.

The last of the Textile Fair

I don't know where the past week went but it is now that long since the Textile Fair and there was one challenge, run by the Thread Studio that I wish I had spent more time looking at.  It was called  Pick a Pocket and there were some wonderful inventive pockets.

Once again, like most challenges, what I liked wasn't what the Judges liked but that is the nature of these things.  I photographed the names of most makers but I have missed a few for which I apologise.  (I will put up the first 10 today and the others tomorrow.)

Part 1

Maker unknown


Elizabeth Roberts Tasmania


Loise Wells WA "He wishes for the cloth of heaven"


Jenni Kirkham WA "Oberon's Gift"


Jenni Kirkham WA Ophelia's Heart


Sandra Shampion Tasmania "Worn Pocket"


Jean Singleton New Zealand "Raggety of Pocket"


Wendy Seddon Victoria "Pocket full of Sunshine"


Ali George Queensland "Dragons and Butterflys"


Penny Compton South Australia " Pick a pocket or two"


There is some wonderful ideas and inspriation here.  More Tomorrow.


Drama 1:

I decided to upgrade my operating system on the desktop computer and the dramas it has caused.  At one point I had a blue screen of death for half a day!!!!  Nervious break down material.  I had such trouble getting the upgrade disk (because Apple are bringing in another operating system next month and everyone , including me, has rushed to get the current one on their machine) and after ringing 10 stores finally found a copy in a large department store in the city.  But it is working again, but not the printer or the scanner.  Looks like I need new drivers for them.

Drama 2:

My new book was delivered to the wrong address, streets away, to a large apartment building, where it has been sitting for days.  Some one who lived in the building realised that the address on the parcel wasn't their address and then kindly walked the 6 blocks to deliver it to me.


I did a workshop in this technique some years ago and have one little sample to show for it.  I want to stitch a major piece but only had the class notes.  Now I have the book.  I had to send to Germany to get it but here it is.


I am off to Sydney next week and will be able to get to The Crewel Gobelin to purchase the linen.  Oh dear, there is so much I want to purchase whilst I'm there.  I will have to think about taking on more work next term to pay for it all.

Books on the English Civil Wars

I have been reading a bundle of books on the above subject and have been surprised at the amount of bias expressed by writers.  Some glossed over facts and other just left them out.  As a History teacher I found this surprising.  I suppose marking all those essays where students don't support facts and express personal opinions, not supported by evidence, has made me  forget that this is how a lot of people write.

There have been two books that I have found more enjoyable than all the others, (I've read or skimmed in some cases, where the bias was so obvious, 15 books.)

The first was by Blair Worden.  He was so adapt at synthesising the facts and coming up with reasoned conclusions.  A very elegant piece of writing.


The second was by Diane Purkiss.  The detail of every day life of the participants painted a well balanced picture of what life was like at that time and gave a background to why people acted in different ways.


I was struck by how much the writing of each book reflected the gender of the writer.  The first, very male, keeping to the facts, the second all those details that a lot of women want to know.  (Like when a new baby arrives, most men just ask is it a boy or a girl, women want to know how much it weighed , eye and hair colour, who it might look like, was the birth easy etc.)  As most history has been written by men it makes you think how much hasn't been written, especialy all those details that paint the full picture.

Whimsical Woolies Challenge

This was only a small exhibit at the Craft Fair and I must admit I have seen better work elsewhere.

But there where a couple of pieces that I thought I could take home.

My favourite was this little sculpture.  It is called the Quilt Hanging by Heather Molinia from Victoria.

I quite liked these small back pillows .

And this pillow.  The rest just just didn't cut it for me.



Almost make you want to buy a new sewing machine

I ran into some friends at the craft show who were disappointed in the goods available.  There wasn't a lot of fabric but there was lots of other things, like wool, and I'm still on the knitting trail.  There were also some interesting small exhibitions and challenges.

The small quilts that were made into skins for your Bernina sewing machine had a couple I was taken with.





But I definately do not need any more sewing machines.

And a certain visitor has their eye on the rug I crocheted for my husband.  I might have to microchip this one to protect it from daughters and grand daughters.


Some needle-weaving or drawn thread work?

This table cloth was part of a lace display at the Textile Fair. 

The design of the weaving in the insert is quite common, although all those triangles at the top are not.

As I took a closer look at my photograph  I believe that all the threads for needle weaving have been laid after the desired shape was cut out and then button holed to secure the edge.  However some of the original threads have been left and used in the pattern.

These threads seem to be the ones that would have been on the straight of grain and would have held the points of the cut outs in place.


The weave of the fabric is very fine, too fine to support all the stitching and finer than the threads that are there.


So once the edges were stitched and the threads laid  the stitching pattern is very repetitive.  This has distorted with time and washing but is still very effective and reproducable.

Queen's Birthday Weekend

We are staying at home dog sitting.  All the kids have left their dogs and they are running riot up and down the hall.   I can't put them outside because it is raining and cold. 

Yesterday I took time to go to a Textile Fair at the Convention Centre.  There was a Scrap-booking Fair and the Lifeline Bookfest on as well, so lots and lots of people.  Too many for me as I was afraid that I would be knocked and hurt.  But I did manage to find some items I have been looking for and discover others that brought delight.  In the delight catagory were these buttonsNo information on where they came from, they were just in little plastic packets on Prudence Mapstone's booth and she wasn't there to ask. 

These are wooden and measure 1 1/4 inches across.


These pretty plastic buttons for baby clothes.


and a whole range of wooden buttons around the half inch size.

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The wooden buttons ranged in price between 10 and 50 cents each and customers were just lining up for them.