Just for fun

Today I went back to persevering – for a couple of hours – with the watercolour experience! It’s all pretty horrible. Haha I don’t know, if I get hooked on it, I might improve…. giving it a bash with some free online lessons from Www.ArtTutor.com which I tell myself will help me in my art practice – and even if it doesn’t, I don’t suppose it’ll do any harm!

The main textile work I am currently busy with is a group challenge which was set by the members of our Textile Group (Reddy Arts). I have to run with it, and the criteria are: 60cm square, start with a white fabric, (e.g. a bed sheet) and all commercially purchased prints and hand dyes are forbidden. I am not convinced that challenges are a good thing.

For this I have opted to  use a very old painted and stencilled piece made several years ago and which has been languishing in the cupboard ever since… It started way back in the days of experimentation with new techniques… there were so many possibilities, so many to try, and thus we gave ourselves permission to play which resulted in giving everything a go! Until eventually we ran the risk of becoming technique junkies without a clue where to go from there… that is a trap, BEWARE! (I still get sucked in….. viz: the watercolour painting) So this piece of original painted and stencilled (with various texture media – eg glass beads and structure gel – mixed in with acrylic paints) now altered with cutting and reinvented with stitching, both hand and machine, is planned to feature a couple of birds… (Surprise!)  but is so far from my usual style of work, I believe it will not be recognisable as mine at all…..  but isn’t that what challenges are all about? Exploring new directions?

So onward, I need to go get stitching, painting and whatever!


Amazing day

This was a day right up there with those pinnacle of your life days – you know the ones, high school and University graduations, Wedding day, Births of the babies days…. today was the day I won the Bernina Best of Show award at the Queensland Quilt Show!!  still on a high, can’t stop smiling!!

Thank you to the judges, Glad Howard, Lyn Hewitt, and Rachelle Denneny;  to  QQ President Judie Bellingham and the management committee of Queensland Quilters Inc; Bernina Australia; all the other many Queensland Quilt Show Sponsors, and Expertise Events –  wow what a day! Thanks to all my lovely friends and acquaintances and fellow quilters and all the ladies(and men!)  for your fabulous support and kind words and admiration today, it was a fantastic experience and you all contributed so much to my brilliant day!

Completely excited that my textile art piece won, and now we are off to Melbourne for AQC and Best of Australia awards early next year, so exciting to be a part of that!! Will be celebrating all week.

Many thanks to Bernina Australia for their wonderful and continuing support of the craft of patchwork and quilting, to Queensland Quilters Inc who organise the quilt show, (see the rest of the fantastic and beautiful winning quilts at the link) and their dedicated members who do the most amazing behind the scenes work for many months in the lead up to the show, and to Quilt and Craft Fair (Expertise Events) for hosting the show. It all takes a great deal of planning and plain hard work to bring it all together every year so that the rest of us can not only enjoy making our art but also sometimes reap the rewards, such as I have been blessed to do so, today. I am so happy, so grateful and just plain astounded. Thank you all.



Beginning to think it is easy to take leave of one’s senses and to become completely obsessive…  I have been exploring 3 dimensions as a mild diversion from the landscape art quilts, precipitated by a void as I had run out of the wide stiff bag wadding which I use as a base for that work. Since I had to wait about three weeks for it to come in to my local patchwork store, and the fact that it also coincided with the sudden and irrevocable demise of both of my vacuum cleaners (yes I had two!)  within days of each other, which then negated all possibility of my filling my time with housecleaning, AND of course I had to do SOMETHING. I am not a gardener. I wish I was sometimes, it would keep me fit and think of all that lovely fresh air in my lungs…. but the dog likes to ‘help’ and she is more of a hindrance.

Having been somewhat fascinated for some time by cyclic tetrahedrons, and as I always relish a challenge,  that is what I thought I would tackle next….  having enough stitch-n-shape on hand as an ideal stabiliser, I set to work figuring out how to do this. My other great love affair (the one with the computer) had me thinking I could do this and print all the 24 triangles I was going to need…. on fabric, just need to work out how the design would need to be…. but that was taking a long time, and eventually the upshot was, as I couldn’t at that point get my head around how to actually get my designs ready to print as a pattern on to fabric, (well I did my head in trying to master kaleidoscope patterns… which was a deviation from the tetrahedron idea…) I concluded it still might just be quicker and simpler to do it all by hand…. as you do. Sometimes I am quite old-fashioned. After all, I only wanted to make one….

Th process:

  1. draw the designs
  2.  trace and redraw them in Illustrator – just to get everything nicely symmetrical, (and it’s playing with magic)
  3. print out and trace them on to fabric
  4. back with stabiliser wadding
  5. quilt
  6. colour
  7. embellish
  8. stitch together

EASY! So I thought… 4 weeks later, I do have the finished article, and I did have a lot of fun on the way. It satisfied my desires to piece, to paint, to quilt! It’s really an art quilt form, this cyclic tetrahedron that I call a TETRASPINNER… This one is approximately 17 inches x 17 inches, and 8 inches high – really rather large but it seemed to me it might be easier to make at these proportions. I was actually wrong in this. It gets a bit tricky at the end…

You can see a VIDEO HERE of the finished item.

I have a fabric print in the pipeline for making a smaller version that would be much easier to handle, and will save anyone wishing to make one the hassle of designing and painting the triangles needed to make it up. While waiting for a proof swatch to arrive, I am working on a pattern that will be downloadable and printable on A4/letter size paper, and which will be available in at least two sizes; similar colours to those you see here, and also the black and white outlines so you can choose your own colours. Instructions for comstruction in fabric and on card will be included.

In the meantime, these are some progress photos…  (the last one is a fabric design I am experimenting with… )

Out of Control and How to Reclaim Your Studio

Just emerged from a three day flurry of activity, and wonder now how I did it, amidst the utter chaos that was my work space. It had been building steadily since my last major tidy up ( three, maybe four? weeks ago), but this weekend it reached explosion levels.  I could barely move, cutting on a 10″ sq space and ironing on an even smaller one! stepping over dogs and boxes and bags of fabric to get through the door….(because the dogs insist on keeping me company – it’s rather nice of them, surely they don’t seriously expect me to have food in my studio – they must be there for love… ?) No time to tidy, I just had to get to the sewing!!! It was a fairly horrendous sewing experience. Really. You might know how it is -Moving stuff from A to B,  in order to work at A, then shifting that stuff and a bit more from B to C, so you can work at B, and then re-locating all that from C back to A,  so you can work at C… and so on. Then you move to the next room, because there’s a bit more space there and you can actually breathe again…for a while. Meanwhile all the stuff that gets shifted becomes a tangled conglomerate pile full of unknown things….

How completely uncivilised to expect myself to work in such conditions! No wonder I seemed to be wildly out of control and feeling slightly hysterical… but ah! I did sew, so I stayed relatively sane. I think.

I tidied up today. (It took all day).

So now, there is hope:  It’s called The New Order: This is how it is going to work.  Tidy up as I go. Put away after myself. Thus, I can expect not to lose my best scissors buried under the avalanche, (they were gone for two whole weeks), and I will be able to find that particular yellow fabric just where it ought to be…. Time used tidying as I go will be much more congenially spent than time wasted searching fruitlessly for something buried deeply beneath layers of crumpled fabrics, wadding, tearaway and offcuts and which in all probability isn’t even in the same room as me!

And oh yes – I was making some more alphabet squares…….. here is a sampling!  have a few more to go. There are some more in previous blog posts… https://ratherbequilting.wordpress.com/2013/04/alphabet – and wow! it seems to be another whole year since I last made any. NO wonder then, the mad flurry…! these kids will be grown before I finish at this rate… eep!

RATG at the QQS

Had lots of fun at the QQS with my friends Brenda and Donna on Sunday and even spent some money! Our display (by Reddy Arts Textile Group) looked great in spite of one of the quilts having been stolen on Wednesday.