Glue Resist, Museums, Bagley, Dyeing.

Eventually I found this little museum just around the corner from me.  It is a collection of buildings including a replica of one of the first houses built in the area.  The site includes 3 original graves and proof of long ago aboriginal visitation, also some coastal rainforest and a sub-tropical cottage garden.  This museum is run by a volunteer organisation called the Gold Coast and Hinterland Historical Society.  The entire committee was there on the 6th of November  working, and they insisted I sit and have tea!.  They followed me around to make sure I was Ok or maybe to make sure I didn’t steal anything.  They were helpful and very chatty and generally made it difficult for me to draw.  Luckily there were only two other visitors there that day.  It was extremely hot, there were few places to sit and draw and there was very little notation about things.  Consequently I only got a couple of pages drawn and I am not very happy with the results and haven’t submitted them yet.  I did manage to take a few photos.

This is part of a little table mat that was at the museum sitting on one of those twig hall tables.  It is sacking with cotton string and is supposed to be original from the 1860’s.  It does look a bit clean to be original but I thought it was interesting.

I have a new Application on my Mac called Turbo Collage.  It lets me put several photos together and add text.  I find it useful to add groups of things and to show progressions.  This is of a glue resist experiment.  I used Elmers Blue Gel glue as the resist and then soaked it in Soda Ash and painted Procion MX dyes with a brush.  Then I added more doodles with the Sharpie Pen after rinsing and washing.  This is my fern frond which I have shown before in a sketch book in an earlier post.  Really I have been drawing this fern frond since I was a child in New Zealand.

Here is a doodle also dyed using a brush with unthickened Procion dyes.  I have redoodled over some of the piece loosely.  Next time I will try painting with thickened dyes.  I think I like the black and white doodles best.

Since I had some dyes made up and Laura Kemshall had just presented a video on dyeing on DMTV I decided to do some simple pieces using her methods.  These are the results and I am quite pleased with them, they will be useful.  I also dyed some more threads to finish off the quilt from the same TV programme using the 2 metre piece of fabric and the rail fence block.

Finally here is the finished quilt.  There is some machine quilting and quite a lot of hand quilting, all practising my seed stitch – I am still not great at random – The hand quilting caused my hands quite a few problems and eventually I realised that I had used the wrong batting to pull perle cottons through by hand.  Its all a learning curve!

Finally, here is a photo of Bagley in my friends garden.  Her lovely husband had taught him how to dig a hole. In actual fact he is much dirtier than this photo shows.  My friend also has a Westie who is female and nearly one year old.  They had a lovely day together and got into such a mess they were banished to the hot garden!  Bagley was a hot and exhausted puppy after that and spent the next 24 hours sleeping.  He can’t wait to get back to that garden and practise his hole digging!

I went with the Serendipity group to the GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) to their “Threads” Exhibition.  It was very interesting, there were quilts and textiles from the Asia Pacific region.  All of the quilts and textiles are actually owned by the Queensland Museum, Queensland Gallery or the GoMA.  If you like textiles its well worth a visit.  I took this photo because it was amazingly hand stitched in the English Piecing style using half inch squares! I have another friend who is doing a postage stamp type quilt on one inch papers, it is going to be magnificent.

Finally, my very un-scientific 6 month light-fastness test on the copper dyed fabric is finished.  there was very little fade.  I don’t have a good photo yet and still have some tests to do – sewing etc using the fabric.



Chartreuse flower centres, Bagley the Westie, Dyeing again.

How about this for a flower centre?  This was taken with my iPhone 4 at my friends house.  Sometimes I wish I could use an SLR camera.  Mostly I just want to get my hands on a big microscope with a camera.  I think the colours in this flower are just magnificent.

This is Bagley the Westie, he is now nearly 12 weeks old and loves to get up at dawn.  Unfortunately dawn at the moment is about 5am and its going to get even earlier.  Bagley is a HUGE time consumer.  He has graduated from Puppy Pre-school and will be starting Beginner Obedience training on Saturday!

This is a 2 metre piece of fabric I dyed with my Tuesday Girls,  Three of us dyed a 2 metre length of fabric each.  We used the same dyes and each got totally different patterns and colours.  Next we cut up this piece and make it into a small rail fence quilt.  The first week we dyed the fabric, yesterday we cut it up and made the 4″ blocks,  next week we will put the blocks together. It will be interesting to see how different each of the quilts will be.  I dyed some threads at the same time, to do some hand quilting with.  I did the Thread Dyeing class with Lisa Walton while I was in Sydney, it was a fabulous class with a wonderful teacher and some interesting classmates!     It feels good to be back into some dyes again, there is nothing like a bit of turquoise under your nails.  Sort of like a badge of honour.

This is a picture painted by my daughter, the mother of my grand-daughter!  It is about 18″ square and painted in acrylics from a photo she took.  Now I really am sorry I steered her away from Art School.

“Kitchen Plastic Shibori”, Creative Quiltmaking, Ancient Carvings!

These three photos are before during and after, using the whole of the top of the milk bottle.  I cut the plastic  quite close to the neck so that you can still screw the lid on over the fabric.  This is an idea I got from Janice Gunner, I only had enough caps to do half of the piece of fabric.  It is dyed with procion mx dyes from Dharma Trading in the US, using Bright Orange and Burnt Orange.  The dye concentrates have been in my frig since April 13 which makes it about as long as they are safe to use.  I think the worst thing that will happen is that they will not be very light fast – too bad, I have had commercial fabric fade in a matter of months as well.

Here is another set using long freezer clips.  You can get them from supermarkets!  The colours are Imperial Purple and Blue Violet.

This final 3 are done with cheap plastic pegs.  I don’t think that they were strong enough and I am now looking for some of those wind proof pegs.  I think these colours are blue and brown.

I call these “Kitchen plastic Shibori”.  They are all ideas from Janice Gunner and easy and fun to try.  I think some of them might work better in an Indigo Vat because it works a little differently to Procion.  Indigo seems to attach to the outside of the cell, where Procion goes right in and makes changes in the cell.

These two photos are from My DM Creative Quiltmaking course photographs.  The first exercise has been to find a collection of objects, which will later be used quite a lot for inspiration.  I chose the old Optrex bottle because Optrex is supposed to make you see more clearly.  The glass is one of Mum’s sherry glasses.  The rubber duck is to remind me of Sophie.  The Christmas decoration is my something red and something shiny.  The seed pod I found a while ago and is from the Gold Coast.  I am not sure what plant it comes from.  I have discarded the round basket in favour of the simpler  square box, however I am going to add the patterned shell.  The next few stages involve sketchbooks and drawing – deep breath!!

The Star fish are in a shallow pool in Shark Bay at Sea World on the Gold Coast  I had to wait for a long time to get this photo while children came and went and cast shadows and touched the starfish.  We were visiting Sea World with the Whirlwind while she was here!  They are in about 10″ of water!

We thought Sea World was extremely expensive to enter and also expensive to be there, food etc is mediocre at best and as a captive audience  you are stung badly in the wallet.  I also had the WORST cup of coffee of my life there!  Having said all of that we had a lovely day and the displays are wonderfully done.  I could watch the polar bears and the penguins all day and Shark Bay was fantastic.

This carved stone is in The Cathedral in Chester.  The Cathedral was built on the site of an ancient Abbey hundreds of years ago.  This stone was saved from the ruins of the Abbey when the cathedral was built.  It takes my breath away when I see this sort of detail that is so old.  I wish we had such great artisans more prevalent these days!

Antique Sewing Machines, Shibori with Janice Gunner, Rusting again! City & Guilds.

This photo is taken of a shop called All Saints of Spitalfields.  The Shop is in the Bluewater Shopping Centre which is just off the M25 near the Dartford Crossing in London.  There are more than one window covered with sewing machines in this shop plus displays inside.  There are other shops in London as well.

I did a class with Janice Gunner learning new Shibori techniques and also how to dye with pre-reduced Indigo.  It was a great two day class and this little piece includes several of the techniques and also different fabrics –  cotton, linen and silk.

Here is the completed challenge quilt for the JEMS Quiltsitters Quilt Show.  I really did not like this quilt until I had nearly finished quilting it.  I am very pleased with it now.  I think when you get so close to your quilt or your art work and it does not really seem to be happening quite the way you wanted, it is difficult.  Then when you stand back and breathe, and get away from it for a while… it all falls into place.  This is quite a different sort of quilt for me and I am now looking forward to making more similar quilts.

I purchased these flat metal rest shapes in the very small outdoor department in Liberty’s Department Store in London.  Here is the result after rusting them.  I really like the leaf shape and might use it for some quilting patterns.

I am going to do some more experiments with the copper solution and have already soaked a rusted sample in the solution successfully.  I have also discovered that vinegar removes most of the copper colour from the fabric which might be interesting.  I also need to do some sewing on the copper dyed fabric to see how it goes with needles and thread.

This is a sketchbook cover I have made after seeing one at my friend Joybell’s home recently.  My cover is a different colour to hers, and I could only vaguely remember her instructions.  The backing is some fabric paper I had made earlier in the year.  The text is sponge fonts from four different sets which just stick on then I hurriedly machined over them to keep them in place.  Then acrylic paints – I used Winsor & Newton heavy body acrylics.  Then a few coats of varnish.  I used some old Jo Sonja Satin Varnish.  I really like it and it will make a great gift idea.  This one is for me – it has my name all over it!

This is a really cool photo taken with an app on my iPhone.  The App is called  ‘Paper Camera”.  There are multiple different ways of viewing the world through this app.  This is called sketch up and I think its great.

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while.  Travelling and blogging was more difficult than I thought it would be, then the Whirlwind and her mother came back to Australia with Perse and Myself.  Then had the elderly-but-delightful parent in and out of hospital.  Plus changing from the Windows operating system to the Apple Mac system proved to be more challenging than I had anticipated, however I have had several more classes at the Apple Store and am a little more comfortable with the new lap top now.

I have enrolled and been accepted to do a City & Guilds on line course in Creative Quiltmaking with the Design Matters Team.  Crazy I know,adding more to my already crazy schedule but I am really excited and will update my progress on this blog now and then.

The final photo is of slime at the Albert Docks on the Mersey River in Liverpool.




London and the Whirlwind.

Three and a half weeks ago I flew into London to visit my grandaughter – henceforth known as “the whirlwind”.

Silly me, I had forgotten about two year olds and their constant activity, I thought I could sew, sketch, draw, paint, stitch, write, blog, get places quickly.  But sadly no!

This is a blurry picture of the whirlwind, not that it is easy to get her to stand still long enough to take an un-blurry picture.  Here we are getting ready to go for a walk, I made the bag, under instructions, for her last year and it still goes nearly everywhere.

This tangle of trunks is a secret place in the garden that the whirlwind has been going to on Wednesdays for noisy activity and socialisation!  Texturally I thought it was lovely.  Overhead it is a mass of green leaves and mauve rhododendron flowers!

When I was a child, my maternal grandparents had a picture almost exactly like this in their large, book lined hall.  Then, I thought it was quite dreary.  I thought this photo, that I had taken, was glorious, it had been raining and it really looked as though Nelson had commanded a break in the clouds.  The photo is taken from the steps of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.  I loved the gallery, it is inspiring to sit in front of Leonardo’s “Madonna on the Rocks” – an unfinished work!  Especially knowing that it is over 500 years old and the original.

These are some rusty metal shapes that I picked up in ‘Liberty’ of all places.  They are flat and I am hoping to get some nice rusty imprints from them when I get home.  The paper underneath is some anaglypta I managed to get for free, as a sample.  We can use it for texture on fabric with dyes or paint,  it would also be a great quilting design.

Spring is such a lovely time to visit England, everyone has a little bit of cottage garden somewhere around their house, some times is is just in a pot.  This is an aquilegia, we grew them in our tiny garden in Auckland but not this colourful or perfect.  As per usual I have taken lots of photos of flowers and also some moss and lichen and doors, and of course many of “the whirlwind”!

Last weekend was Person’s first in England so to keep him awake we took him to some National Trust Sites for a bit of fresh air body clock adjusting.  One of these was Batemans, which was the English home of Rudyard Kipling, and the other was Scotney Castle.

Old Scotney Castle - the ruin!

Matza Tart, Fabric dyeing with sodium Alginate, The sand pumping Jetty.

Nearly Perfect! Yum!

After 31 years of trying, I think I have finally cracked it.  This is the best looking Matza Tart I Have made.  It is my m-i-l’s recipe and we have to have it to make Passover complete!  Of course the proof will be in the eating, and after the huge meal no one can eat much, so left overs for tomorrow I hope!

I have finished my Quiltsitters challenge quilt, just have to sew on the label.  After all of the angst, agony, teeth gnashing, block counting and other drama, I actually like it.  I can’t post a picture until after the quilt show in July!

Fun with dyes.

Last week I spent 3 days playing with sodium alginate and procion mx dyes. I used the sodium alginate as a thickener in different thicknesses, goopy, medium and slightly runny.  Added to the dyes, and applied to fabric which had been soaked in soda ash and then dried or just soaked in the soda ash and still wet.  Using the book by Ann Johnston, “Colour by Design”, I used rollers, sponges, needle nose bottles, foam brushes, large brushes, rubbing plates, stencils, stamps, masking tape and lots of colour!  It was tiring, and fun.  Over Easter I will be finally playing with mono-prints, thermofaxes, screen prints, stencils and more colour. These photos include some of the results.

This is a beautiful piece of fabric given to me by a friend, It is a very fine shirting or poplin and has the most beautiful drape.  The plaid is made with masking tape.  I have kept some of the masking tape and already put some of it into a page in my altered book.

This is one of the last pieces when I was using up some paint and in a hurry.  It was done very quickly, but proof to me that when you have drawn something often enough, or traced or stenciled or made stamps or all of these things in the end you just know it well enough to even attempt a freehand drawing.

When Q1 opened I went up to the top, mainly because I wont let my fear of heights stop me from going up every tower in every city.  On this occasion I took a photo, looking towards the apartment we now live in.  This is my interpretation of that photo.  There are some definite improvements in my technique that I need to make.

This was fun,  the plain alginate, with out colour, was painted onto the dry fabric first, then the picture sort of smooshed on, quite a bit of finger painting went on with this one.

On the weekend Perse and I went for a walk out along the sand pumping jetty.  He had never done this!  He took his camera and got some fabulous shots of seagulls in flight, landing and on the railing staring at us.  I took this one of the sea between waves,  It is a magnificent colour.  There were lots of fishermen there but didn’t see any fish being hauled out of the ocean!

Challenge quilts, Dyeing with copper experiments, Flowering trees, Altered Books.

Nearly finished quilting!

This photo is a small part of my Jems Quiltsitters challenge quilt.  I have nearly finished quilting this on my machine.  I never really like my own quilting and have all sorts of problems trying not to be jerky and keeping my stitches even.  I have to have it finished before May because I will be away for 6 weeks and when I get back it will be nearly time for the Jems Quilt show which will be at the Brookfield Hall on the weekend of July 23rd.  I will put in exact dates later.

final colour of copper solution for dyeing

Yesterday was the day for the copper dyeing trials.  I have written vast quantities of notes and have lots of ‘what if’ ideas.  Basically it did not matter how long the fabric was soaked for, so long as it was swished around and thoroughly wet it seemed to take the colour.  There was no colour in the rinse water and the fabric was softer after rinsing.  It seemed that  the fabric used up the colour and the solution got progressively weaker.  The linen dyed a beautiful shade very similar to a proper English Robin egg blue, but the wool and silk died a dark grey.  All of  the cotton dyed a lovely aqua colour.

Copper dyeing.

On doing a bit more research I have discovered that the pH of ammonia is around 11.3, which is also the pH of a strong Soda Ash solution.  So I thought I might try soaking the copper in some soda ash to see if it gave colour.  I also wondered if adding more copper would make a stronger, or darker colour.  Does anyone have any old copper bits they want to donate to me?   The ammonia is not toxic and can be added to your garden but it does burn your nasal passages a bit.  My mother used it as a household cleaner, and we always had to soak the hairbrushes and combs in it every week.  I don’t know why, and so have discontinued this tradition.  Maybe this is why there is such a huge outbreak of head-lice these days.  Maybe we need to soak our grooming tools in cloudy ammonia once a week.

Spathodea Campanulata

This is also known as an African Tulip tree.   This particular specimen I noticed while waiting at some lights on a rainy day in Burleigh, iphones are so handy!  These trees have been flowering in March as well but I did not know what they were called then, not even it’s  common name.  I have a book by India Flint called ‘Eco dyeing’  It is a lovely book but not really well laid out as far as recipes go.  India lost me when she mentioned that you should really know the correct botanical name of the plants you were using.  There are over 248 species of gum trees!  all of them begin with Eucalypt…….  However something must have rubbed off because since then I have tried to learn the correct names of trees.  India has a lovely blog, there is a link at the side of my blog.

another nearly complete page in my altered book.

Yes, I am still doing my altered book, I have about 6 or 7 pages completed now.  Of course as I get on I am improving with techniques etc.  and so I am tempted to paint over and redo things all of the time!

Nearly a little purse!

That yellow and orange flower looks like a poached egg!  This is nearly ready to be made into a little purse to keep sewing things in.  It has thousands of beads on it! Well hundreds anyway. The background is dyed batting and the flowers and leaves are wool or batting.  I attached them with my embellishing machine.

Bauhinea branch

This tree is outside Dad’s unit.  I thought the leaves looked like butterflies.  The tree is not flowering right now, but it does flower!