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October 2022

Adjusting to my new life of freedom

I am still getting my mind around the fact that I don't have to do home schooling anymore.  My time is mostly mine.  What a novel thought!  I can visit friends, who I haven't seen for ages or have only seen them just quickly in passing.  Now I have time to spend a whole day with them.  I can call in on my other children for lunch or dinner, which I did this week.  I loved it.  And over the last three years so much has happened that I have fallen behind.  There are new artists and ideas to explore along with lots of new shops and venues I haven't seen.  How exciting.

Now you probably know this textile artists work but it is new to me.  Paula Kavarik.  She uses her sewing machine like a drawing pencil and her drawings are a bit like Shaun Tan, almost "train of thought" type drawing.  (A bit like the pencil drawings Shaun has inside the covers of some of his books.)


The music is a bit circus soleil.  

There is a nice little tour of her studio.

And  her video of 2019 quilts is great.

And if you have time this interview is worth watching.  (She didn't start quilting until she retired!)

This makes for pleasant viewing and I am so inspired that I have just purchased her book.

Some old work

As I am spending so much time at my son's home I thought I would do some tidying up for them.  They are due to move into their new home in a few weeks time and have stuff everywhere.  Amongst this stuff was a quilt I made for him when he first left home.  I was into dying at the time and this was made from the samples that I had made.

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Now this was over 20 years ago but the dyes still look good I'm pleased to say.  I knew I had put a label on the quilt with the date etc on it but...

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Shows I need to sew the details on labels not just write them in fabric pen.

The next thing I found was an old knitted rug I made him.  The colours are really dated but the knitting is good.

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I must say I was very chuffed to think that he had held onto these pieces for so long.

And while I was doing this Nugget gave me the  sweetest look.

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Silly dog.


Learning new skills, as in designing my own knitting patterns, has played  a major role in what I am working on at the moment.  Most of it is trail and error, so very time consuming , but very satisfying when I work something out.  After my hat I am knitting mittens to match and I have finally worked out how to make a thumb gusset.  There is so much math involved in knitting that I had never appreciated before.  Next will be the top of the mitten and knitting the thumb.

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I have also been drafting patterns and making a toille for a top that I want to make. 

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Nothing fancy but again, getting that math right in the drafting takes time and then when I made the toille I had to make a number of adjust ments to the basic pattern.

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And on my last visit to the Guild I thought I would get a lot of stitching done but I got side tracked and only appliqued a few leaves.

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All this travelling is taking a toll on my stitching time.

The early bird

I have turned into an 'early bird'.  I have to be up at 4:30am to get the 5am ferry so that I can be at my son's home before they have to leave for work at 6:45am and at the other end of the day I catch the 5pm ferry home again.  It is not as bad as it sounds.  In some places the traffic is terrible but for the most part the drive to and from is pleasant.  What is good is that my grand daughter is so much better in her own environment.  She makes a terrible mess here but at home everything is tidy and calm, including her bedroom. (I am really impressed with how she keeps her room.)  It makes a big difference to her learning. (My other grand daughter has a pet snake in her room so I stay out of there.)

There is only 6 weeks before the school term ends and my daughter has joined the teaching team and my son has rearrange his work to 4 days on 4 days off so I don't have to be there every day but I do have to come home and cook dinner.  I like cooking.  In fact I love cooking.  I try to make something different for every meal but I must admit that I have been re-making much of the same list of recipes.  Then I came upon

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When I subscribed I was able to down load 3 recipe books for free, which I will work my way through and I want to buy the new book  'Dinner' that has been released here in Australia and other places overseas recently.

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The woman that has put all this together is Nagi Maehashi who live in the northern beaches of Sydney.  We are such a multi cultural society that there is a huge range of recipes that come from many countries. Now I just have to get my husband to accept something different.


My new patchwork buddies

I am enjoying going to my new Local Patchwork Group "Star Sea Quilters".  I go along with my neighbour Margaret and our mutual friend Bev, who has just opened an exhibition of her work at the The Old School House Gallery.

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Bev owned a patchwork shop before she retired and specialised in all things Japanese.  Margaret is one of the founders of the patchwork and quilting revival here in Australia and is the author of numerous books.  She has just released some new patterns which went on sale at the Quilt Show here in Brisbane.

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She has a love of Japanese fabrics which feature in many of her quilts.  You can buy her patterns through Wabi-Sabi Designs.  There is also a great interview with Margaret on their Facebook page.

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It is great to have two such inspiring friends along with all the other members of this welcoming group close at hand.


Not a lot of work and I am only able to do hand work again.

I finished my knitted hat I designed and knitted it in re-claimed wool.

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I'm pleased with the pattern for the crown.

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I am now working on a pattern for a pair of mittens to match.

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I'm pleased with the results so far as I have only every designed a cowl before.  I'm not thinking about garments just yet.

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I took this project to the patchwork group this week and have been really struggling with it.    It must be the materials I am using because I had no trouble when I made up the Kogin Coasters which is the exact same pattern.

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It is good to mix up techniques a bit.  They say a change is as good as a holiday.

Life has changed again

Well school didn't work out for my grand daughter and we are back to home schooling.  (She was targeted by bullies in the first few days and just freaked out and is now totally traumatized.)  The change this time is that I will have to travel to their home, which will see me having to catch the 5:30am ferry to get there in time.  I don't think I will come home and travel back again the next day, rather, I will stay over night.  It looks as though I will only be needed a couple of days each week as her other grandparents will return in a couple of weeks time and my daughter will join us on the roster.  There is only another 6 weeks in this term before the Xmas break, so it isn't forever.  I'm not sure what the arrangements will be for 2023.  By that time the family will be in their new home which is only 20 minutes from the island.  The last 3 years have been lessons in have to be flexible and be able to adapt the change.  I will just keep this image of my beautiful island at the front of my mind all the time and "roll with the punches"'

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The all over club

To aid my learning of colour-work knitting I decided to join Kate Davies "All over club."

This club is about:

"Celebrating colour in our knitting. There will be weekly colour-work design releases, essays exploring colour in history, textiles and art, and blog posts from talented guest contributors well-known for their distinctive work. You’ll also gain an insider’s view of the creative process of working with colour, as we share charts, templates, palettes, and technical tips to help you create your own colour-work designs (or modify existing patterns)."  (Text from the Email.)

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I have decided that I really want to learn how to knit colour work designs and this looks like a great way to get started on this.  I would also like to get a copy of the Philosopher's Wool Company video of how to knit 2 handed colour work.   Anne and Eugene were Canadian knitters and wool producers who made this  video.  Anne died in 2020 so I'm not sure how I will go about getting this.  I might find a pre-loved edition on-line?   Whilst looking for more information I see there are lots of videos about two handed colour work on You Tube. I might have to settle for that.


Machine Embroidery

I have been following the work of Meredith Woolnough for several years now.  She has a beautiful web-site

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Her work is now acclaimed all over the world and just gets more beautiful.

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On her blog she has had a series for free videos where she gives you the ins and outs of working with water soluble fabrics. 

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She also has an on-line class coming up.  Even if you are not interested in doing this kind of work yourself It is well worth having a look at her site.