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August 2011

July 2011

Margaret Ollie

Margaret Ollie died this week aged 88 years.  She was to have a major exhibition at my local gallery owned by Phillip Bacon, but that is now on hold.  Still life has never been one of my favourite art forms but some how her still life paintings didn't look still.


She had the most interesting face,not beautiful in the traditional sense but a face that many artists wanted to paint.




I love this line and wash drawing of the Brisbane River, drawn back in the days before the bridges.  It looks like a view from Summerville House school which she attended.


What a wonderful epitaph to be able to say a life lived full and well.

(all images from the Australian)

Keep Calm

Life is ganging up on me at the moment. Visitors have just arrived to 'surprise' me from interstate and I am on supper tonight at my patchwork group.  No way I can get out of that.  I thought they were coming tomorrow.   Because of that I made arrangement for my daughter to fill in for me at the Regional Flavours of Queensland state cookery competitions.  Now she tells me she has to work.  Well I will have to take them with me.

Just over a month to go

Yes, it will soon be August and those winds will start to blow.  The mornings are cold and the trees are telling me it is almost time for the winds to come as well.  The Rain Trees are down to the last leaves and the seed pods, which would have to be the most prolific anywhere.  This is Oscar's,  our late black labradors, tree.  Not full grown as yet but doing well.

This is the tree next door that grows over the fence.  It is huge.

Out on the street the Jacarandas are about to drop their leaves as well.


All our other trees, palms, natives, figs etc are evergreens.  It is the exotics that show the  seasons.

On another note I received a parcel today from Indigo Niche.  I can not speak highly enough about the wonderful service they have provided to me.  I have been searching the world to buy a speciality fabric for Kogin embroidery.  This comes from the region of Japan that was worst affected by the sunami earlier  this year and has been impossible to source by the metre.  There has been some kits that you can buy on line but no meterage.  This company found the fabric, and although I had to buy a bolt (5 metres), they gave me a competitive price.


There are other fabrics that could be substituted but I will teaching this technique in 2012 and I wanted my students to have an authentic experience.  If they want to substitute other fabrics in the future that is fine but they will know what the original fabric is like to work with.  These classes are part of a series that I have planned that explore needle darning from different regions of the world.  Not a hard technique but different cultures have produced many different ways of using it.

Wonderful photographs

How did I miss this museum?  I have it top of my list when I am in the USA next year.  Pam has put up on an album of the most wonderful photos from the Museum of international Folk art in Santa Fe. 

This is my favourite image, don't you love the cat? (lion, cougar, whatever.)

Here is the link to all the images.


I have ordered this book about the textiles from the Museum and can't wait for it to arrive.


The Future is here

I kept telling my Graphics students that eventually there would be a desk top printer that would "print" a copy of the CAD file they were working on as a 3D model, well here it is.  It is now commercially available.  Still too expensive for the home user but it wasn't that long ago that computers were too expensive for the home user.


Now, fashion designers use CAD files to design their ranges.  The patterns are either printed or sent straight to the Laser cutter.  I wonder when these printers will print models of their designs?

Helping my daughter

My daughter is finishing a double Masters Degree and being a University student has very little spare cash.  She is also going to be a bridesmaid at her friends wedding later on this year, so she decided to make her a quilt as a wedding present.  (The reasoning behind this was Mum has a great stash of fabrics I can raid and she can help me.) 

She wanted to to some kind of star on a background, the thinking was all very fuzzy, but she decided that this pattern by Lessa Siegele would be perfect.

My fabric stash was raided and all my blues were oohed and ahhed over.  We had to buy some extra fabric to get the right colour match and then she says, "this is to be a double bed quilt".  Back to the shop, more fabric.  "I have a meeting at the Uni Mum, can you get the fabric?"  (No mention of money.)

Now there is the question of propotions.  The centre star will have to be sized up, along with the corners and geometry has never been one of my strong points.  It took me some time to get my head around cutting the strips on 10 degrees  and how they would fit but I have to say the colours are looking nice.


To understand how the pattern worked I had to make up strips in another set of fabrics, so it looks like I will be making this quilt as well and then Laura comes home with more fabric to make a quilt for herself.   I am really going to know about 10 degree angles after this.


I find that the unpaid activities are taking over my life at the moment.  I have so many projects that I would prefer to be doing than the financial statements for non profit organisations, but I did volunteer.

I am still working on samples for my beginning stitching class.  I have to find a balance between what the present trends, like the work of Anna Maria Horner,


and what the members of the Guild feel is appropriate.  The aim of the Guild is to promote excellence in embroidery but I can understand people starting out being attracted to what they see in the media.  So, this is sample No 1 worked on a cotton brocade fabricThe stitches, from left to right are; back stitch, threaded running stitch, running stitch, stem stitch, blanket stitch, encroached stem stitch, fly stitch, variations of fly and detached chain stitch, chain stitch and enlaced chain stitch.  When I write it down I know there are too many stitches.  Time to start another sample.


Woolly wonders

I am still clicking my needles knitting baby clothes although I think it is time to move onto some sweaters and cardigans for myself.  When I looked in my cupboard I became aware that I didn't have one hand knit .

The last little cardigan I knitted for Monique isn't going to fit her for long at the rate she is growing.  I used Touch Yarn's wool for this cardigan and have decided that I wanted to work with wool from other small producers.


This led me to Renaissance Dyeing, by a very round about route, who are based in the Pyrenees in FranceThey started by dyeing embroidery threads and you can read more about their background on their website.  It was through Kate Davie's blog that I discovered the 4 ply Poll Dorset yarns.

And it was at their blog that I found this delightful video. 


The story of the shepherd who lived 800 years ago who saved the persecuted Cathars from the Albegensian Crusade is very moving.  Here is a link to a translation of a French work of 1756 by Votraire about this event. I have now added a visit to the Pyrenees to my travel list.

Drawn thread work and quilting

I was looking for a new hat pattern for my grand daughter, (who is half Dutch) and came upon this wonderful website.  I haven't tried translating it as yet but I have Inge to help me. The data base is huge. But back to the hat for the baby.  They had lots of these but they also had baby clothes.

It wasn't until I zoomed in on this piece that I realise how beautiful it was.  I'm still not sure what is the front or the back.  I think this is the front


and this the back


Looking at it more closely it looks as though the quilting is Boutis work and the spaces different  types of drawn thread work.


There was also a range of fabrics on display as well that is very similar to some of my quilting fabric.

NOMA01_N7968_X NOMA01_K57-51_X

I just love these drawings.



My daughter-in-law is going to be very busy with the translation I think.



Jim Nakao

We are used to shocks in fashion but Jum Nakao takes it to another level.  I knew what was coming but I was still shocked.  He uses paper conceptually because of it's impermanence. At the end of the show this is demonstrated. It is still shocking, but true.