Ready, set go..

I am all packed for Fibre Arts at Sale.  I have probably packed too much stuff, but you never know what you are going to need.  Here are some collage and printed cards I have made to sell at the traders market.

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New thermofax screen – Sashiko stitching

I am currently enamoured with all things Japanese. I am re-learning the language, forty years after I first did an intensive 12 month course, and I have a trip planned for later this year. So I wasn’t surprised to notice that a number of the new screens I have made recently have a distinctly Japanese theme to them.

Sashiko stitching is a traditional style of running stitch usually done in white on an indigo background. I must confess that traditional sashiko just doesn’t appeal to me much – the traditional designs are very precise and orderly. While many people find repetition and symmetry pleasing in designs, I am afraid I am not one of them. To me, same, orderly = predictable = boring, no matter how artfully executed. I like eccentricity and asymmetry – it takes far too much effort to be perfect!

sashiko-scallops-on-indigo

sashiko-scallops

thermofax screen sashiko stitching
zippered pouch with ‘sashiko’ stitching

So I took a traditional sashiko clamshell design and in Adobe Illustrator, drew free-hand clamshells then used a seed stitch brush to simulate the stitches. I turned this into a thermofax screen, and voila – instant, quirky sashiko ‘stitching’. I made a zippered pouch of the fabric, and backed it with some complementary Japanese patchwork fabric.sashiko-zippered-pouch-back
thermofax 'sashiko' stitching

I played with the idea a bit and made a few more designs, including a traditional hexagon, some random, wavy stitching lines and then interspersed straight lines with circles. These remind of of the sand/gravel gardens at at temple in places like Kyoto.
sashiko-stone-gardensashiko-hexagons

I have printed these onto some indigo fabric that I dyed using 60% reduced indigo from KraftKolour in Melbourne. A very quick and easy way to get into indigo dyeing if you would like to give it a go. These pieces only had one dip in the vat, so aren’t very dark, but I like this shade of blue.

Where I live

moonrise1

moonrise2
One of the (many) pleasures of living here is watching the moon rise over the water. There is something magical about seeing the light glimmering on the surface of the sea. I took these photos last week.

Photo of the perigee moon seen from NSW south coast May 6 2012
Just over a year ago I captured the rise of the perigee moon which inspired this fabric postcard.  Thermofax printed tree, stencilled moon on hand dyed fabric.  I think I will have to make more of these.

Postcard13

Aussie Hero Quilts

I have been a bit quiet since just before the Canberra Quilters show, but that doesn’t mean I have been idle.  I keep hoping for the weather to warm up so I can get out my dyes and messy stuff, but it is still too cold.  At least the days are getting noticeably longer.

I am the newsletter editor for Canberra Quilters, and one of the articles I was asked to include for the September edition was about the Aussie Hero Quilt project.  I hadn’t heard of this before then.  Once I had finished putting the newsletter to bed, I looked into this and decided it was something I really wanted to do.

I am a former member of the ADF, as is my husband, who is also a Vietnam Veteran.  When he read the emails I had got from Jan-Maree, AHQ founder, and saw that I was going to make quilts for the project, he commented that he thought it was a really good thing to do.  Exactly.

So here are my first five quilts (click for larger image)

Aqua strippy

aqua strippy quiltSouthern cross on field of graduated blues

Scrappy strips

And my favourite – big strippy plaids

I also made half a dozen laundry bags, including four from recycled curtain fabric I picked up at St Vinnies.  This is one of the four.

And a couple more from different fabrics.

And finally, all the quilts need to have a label on them  using the particular wording that Jan Maree requests be used.  Apparently some people print these labels onto fabric direct from their printer.  As I have a thermofax, I decided to make a screen and screen print them

They are about A4 size.  One thing I learned from hand sewing five labels on, is in future, I will machine stitch the label to the backing before quilting – that way it gets quilted right into the quilt.

If anyone wants to make a quilt/quilts for this wonderful project, and would like one of these screen printed labels, just send me a stamped self addressed envelope and I will mail you one (or however many quilts you need them for).

My address is 30 Coastal Court DALMENY NSW 2546

This is a wonderful project and I am glad I found it – I hope everyone will get behind it.  If you aren’t in a position to make a quilt, consider a laundry bag, or even just one block.  Jan Maree runs a block of the month and you can contribute that way – go check out the blog.

Fabric postcards – landscapes

fabric postcard with thermofax trees

Searching through my fabric stash I came upon a small collection of SkyDye fabrics by Micky Lawler – I am pretty sure I bought these when I lived in the US – which is close to 20 years ago now!  Just as well fabric doesn’t go off.

With the addition of some thermofax trees and a little stitching, they make simple, but effective landscapes.

fabric postcard using hand painted fabric and thermofax screens

This one was inspired by the recent perigee moon.

fabric postcard showing perigee moon

Fabric Postcard

picture of fabric postcard with various surface design techniques

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoy making fabric postcards.  You have nothing to lose when working small – and the payoff, when you get something you like, is an immediately useful little piece of art that you can keep in a folder for reference for making larger pieces, or you can use it by sending it to someone.  You can add stitching – by hand or machine – or not. What could be more personal?

This postcard is for a colleague at work who has been a great support to me when we had some difficult things to get done and we both felt like tearing our hair out.  She confided once that what she REALLY wanted to do was be a park ranger.  So my farewell gift to her is this little card.

I painted the fabric with paints,and sun-printed with gum leaves from my garden.  The quote and walking boots are from thermofax screens I made.

More little Narooma quilts

There are a number of charming little boat sheds around town that I pass on my cycling expeditions.  This is my favourite

photograph of old boatshed in NaroomaThis photo was taken a couple of years ago when we first moved here.  I love the colours and the peeling paint.  Unfortunately, it was vandalised a while back and they replaced the door,

photograph of old boatshed in narooma

so now it looks like this – that new green door may be an improvement from a security perspective, but definitely not an aesthetic one.

Here are some other local sheds

These have inspired these little quilts.

small quilt featuring boatshed

Narooma

image of a postcard showing Narooma buildings

I don’t actually live in Narooma, but about six kilometres away.  But Narooma is where I go to shop, visit the library, fuel up the car etc.  A lot of buildings have a distinctive roof line which has now been decreed by the council as being the preferred design for new buildings.

This postcard illustrates the style well.  I would credit the photographer and link to his/her website if I could – but unfortunately, that info is printed in the bottom left hand side, over an image of the marine rescue station, and is completely unreadable…hmmm.  UPDATE: I have since been advised that the photographer is Brett Thompson – http://brettthompson.com.au/historiccards.html.

On my frequent bike rides around town I stop and photograph the many local signs for oysters, fish etc.  I created a little boat shed from hand dyed fabric, and made a thermofax screen from one of the local signs.

photo of small quilt showing Narooma boat shed with oyster sign

I have made several of these now and will load them up as I finish the quilting/facings.  They are quite addictive and a good way to experiment with layouts and techniques – including my machine quilting which has never been my strong point, and which I am determined to improve.  Practicing new stuff on a small scale makes it seem less challenging, don’t you think?

Switching from Blogger to WordPress

I have been on a bit of a break, during which I have been working behind the scenes getting ready for my imminent retirement from paid work.  One of the things I have wanted to do is get a proper website, so that I could offer a Thermofax screen printing service.  I started off thinking I would learn to build my own – and that is still my intention – I am slowly working my way through learning Dreamweaver.  However, I realised it would take sometime to reach the requisite level of proficiency  so I looked around for another option.

The best bet seemed to be to set up on WordPress, where the line between blog and website is fairly blurry.  Having a WordPress site allows me to still maintain a blog – and even bring over my previous blogs from Blogger – how cool is that?! But it also allows me to set up static pages, which operate more like a website.

I still have plenty of work to do to change the header, background etc to personalise it, and complete my galleries, but at least I am back in the saddle.

It feels good.