May 18, 2015

Blog Book and More

The blog book I ordered has arrived. I've been trying to come up with an idea how to print my blog. Both Mr Notjustnat and I came up with various ways, but in the end I decided to get it printed with Blog2Print. I decided to print one year at a time. My first book for the 2014 posts has arrived. The next one is ordered and it is on its way. I'm very happy with how it looks and feels. The photos are as clear as I see on the web. 

Apart from that, I had a busy couple of weeks yet again. I visited a great exhibition: Exquisite Threads, English Embroidery 1600-1900s. I took some photos of my favourite pieces to share with you here.

I was sick for most of last week. The doctor ordered for me to stay home during that time. No good giving my cold to the rest of the team at work! The weather was horrible the whole time I was home, but I managed to complete small sewing projects and put on a batch of dye during that time.

My first blog book for 2014

2014 when I went on a textile trip to Vientiane
Luang Prabang and Siem Reap.

Below are some photos of the embroideries at the Exquisite Threads Exhibition. The first one is a Bible cover from the early 17th century. What caught my attention was the work of free-form embroidery. To use it for a Bible cover was comforting to me because I'm making the same things, but for journal covers.  

Bible cover-early 17th century

Part of my hand-stitched journal cover

My 2015 travel journal cover

Coif - early 17th century. Linen, silk, gilt-metal
(thread, spangles)

Section of a larger embroidery panel 

Stomacher - early 18th century

Below are a few small projects I worked on while I was home sick:

Shibori stitched on linen dress, socks and
cotton threads ready for indigo dye

Quilt label for Red Star and Blue Sea
quilt posted here

The Civil War block I made using Barbara
Brackman's free patterns that I posted here 

I was given walnut hulls a couple of weeks ago. I soaked them until they were ready to be used. Steeping is another way to cook dye bundles. The liquid you steep bundles in could be anything from natural sources. All bundles for this batch had been steeped in walnut bath. 

Jars and bundles ready to be opened

Unwrapped bundle of wool and Eucalyptus

A peak into another bundle of silk and Eucalyptus

Another bundle using different Eucalyptus

Autumn maple leaves on vintage silk

Silk scarf dyed in walnut bath
Lucky find:

My sweet Abela

A lucky find for this post is not what I found recently, but it was a lucky find I found 15 years ago on eBay. This sweet Singer Featherweight is my proud and joy and I enjoy her every time I sew with her. I only use her to sew vintage fabric. I named her Abela to remind me of an Arabic name for a beautiful little girl. Abela was made in Scotland, but I got her from Texas, USA. 

Until next time
Nat

May 4, 2015

Autumn/Fall Colours

A few activities plus some outings happened these last couple of weeks. First of all, I finished a quilt I started in 2013 and posted here and here. It's now on a bed in our guest room. I called it Red Star & Blue Sea a simple name for a simple quilt. I would be jealous if it was not mine, but it is! I'm so happy. I had an outing to the Australian Quilt Convention at the Royal Melbourne Exhibition Building a couple of Saturdays ago. I went alone on the spur of the moment and thoroughly enjoyed it. I stopped at Ziguzagu for the warehouse sale; can't miss that! I got a few goodies from there. 

ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) commemorates it's 100th year this year on Apr. 25th. I had a small part in the commemoration by making red poppies, Anzac biscuits and made a display of old photographs and documents from WWI in 1915. Another thing I did was to go on an outing to Alowyne Gardens in Yarra Glen with Mr Notjustnat. I have been there once before.

Last but not least, I put on a large batch of dye after we got home from Alowyne Gardens. I gathered some autumn leaves from there and I was itching to dye with them. Below are some photos from the various activities. 

Red Star & Blue Sea quilt nice spread on the bed.

A woollen quilt by Segolaine Schweitzer,
exhibit at AQC

Double Wedding Ring Quilts Tradition Made Modern
by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

The nation commemorated the centenary of ANZAC Day on 25 April this year. The idea is to try to remember those who lost their lives in WWI, and in the Gallipoli campaign in particular. 

Red poppies represented ANZAC Day.

ANZAC biscuits I made on the day.  

Persimmons from Alowyne Gardens

Another shot from Alowyne Gardens

At the visit to Alowyne Gardens I gathered some autumn leaves to dye with that afternoon. With the Eucalyptus leaves I gathered during the week, I was ready to wrap and roll! 

Dyeing alone is never fun! Over dyed
with Grevillea tree leaves

Colour is seeping through after steaming.

Bundles bundles!

Juvenile blue gum leaves on wool.

Grevillea tree leaves on silk

Blue gum leaves on vintage silk.

Nettle and Prunus leaves on vintage silk.

Some vintage goodness from Ziguzagu
Warehouse's sale.

Lucky find: My lucky find for this post are these fine porcelain cups with hand painted blue cherry blossoms. The porcelain is so fine and translucent you can almost see through it. A nice set of three perfect for a cup of green tea. I found them at ZiguZagu's Warehouse sale along with other goodies above. 


Autumn or Fall for some is well settled here. The leaves turn from yellow to red and brown. A beautiful time of year. I love Autumn/Fall! 

Some exciting news here is that I have ordered a blog book. I have put a lot of thought into my blog lately. My blog is really my journal. It is a journal of what I have made and done over the last 6 years since I started blogging. I have recorded everything I made in my blog. Recently a horrible thought came to my mind of possibly losing my blog forever! After looking into a few blog-to-print services I choose to go with Blog2Print and printed one year to see how it would look. If I'm happy with it, I will print the other years since 2009. I'm excited to get my first blog book. Hope it comes soon!

Until next time
Nat

April 17, 2015

Eco-Dye Workshop

My daughter Kitiya is a member of Sundae Craft. This is a group of young creative crafters in Melbourne. The Sundae Craft meets monthly, and each month each member shares their expertise and teaches the rest of the group their skills. Kitiya told me that everyone in Sundae Craft would love to learn eco-dyeing, and if I wouldn't mind teaching them. I was thrilled to get asked by these young upcoming creative crafters and artists. I have been thinking of how best to deliver my eco-dye method to them more effectively. I have been teaching many things both for fees and for free!

In the end I came up with an activity that would give the students some instant results, but also one that would engage them after the session. I told them in my introduction that they will not learn to dye just in one workshop. I have been dyeing using natural, eco and synthetic dyes for over 10 years, but I can't say I'm an expert in any of them. It's very much a trial and error process in dyeing. You have to have a curious mind and be willing to try everything. I also told the group that they are lucky to be in Australia with their backyard full of dyeable plants. The world envies us for that!


I show them both the bundle and jar dyeing methods. They took the jars away with them after dyeing. Kitiya told me they will open them next time the Sundae Craft group meets. How exciting will that be!


The above photo is the table setting I got ready for them. I've got a few jars that I dyed in Canberra with DIL. I have gathered both fresh and dried leaves for them ready to roll.


I have a perfect setting for outdoor workshops. I strung a line around the deck and hung some samples of the dyed fabric on it. The effect was eye catching when you enter it from the back gate.


I introduced the workshop by telling them that this was the first proper ecodyeing workshop I have ever given. I opened a couple of my jars and showed them how to start. The table wasn't large enough for 11 people so I split them up into two groups. The second group observed and planned their own bundles while watching.  





They bundled their first batch and while the bundles were cooking/steaming they prepared the next bundles for jars dyeing. I got them to open their first bundles together in the workshop. Above are some samples of their pieces. I think they were wrapped with the results! I'm so pleased with how the workshop went and I hope that some of them will take up dyeing and develop their interest in it further.  

Part of my stitching on Furoshiki cloth.

Journal cover for my upcoming around-the-world trip.

Rusty corner got the love in the Tree House Studio.

 April's Stitching with friends, Jacky and Mary.


Lucky Find:

To tell you the truth, since I moved my studio into the Tree House I got rid of lots of things I couldn't find a home for in there. I also stopped going to op-shops to discourage myself from buying any more stuff! But, big BUT, last Saturday after "stitching with friends" session ended Jacky and I walked pass a Salvo op-shop and I spotted the dark case (bottom one) that I just had to have! The stack now is complete (for now!). Being an expat most of my life things like cases or travel goods are one of my passions! 

I hope everyone is well and keeping creative and happy. It's another busy weekend ahead for me! I love it!

Until next time
Nat



April 9, 2015

Easter Holiday Update

Easter Holiday came and went in a flash! It was a busy holiday for me. We went to visit our son and his family and got to spend time with our grandchildren. The last time we saw them was at Christmas. Of course we noticed the change in them. DGD is all grown up and clever with her writing and reading. DGS is also grown and much more mature than the last time we saw him. They both loved my homemade cookies I took them. 

While I was there I helped with cooking and froze the leftovers for when they are too busy to cook. I showed DDIL coil basket weaving. We played eco-dyeing. I helped DS shorten two pairs of pants and also covered a seat for his long-trail bike he just got. All in all I had a busy, but fun time away. Below are photos with descriptions: Hope you all had a nice Easter as well. 

Easter baskets I made years ago.
I gave them to DGC this Easter.

Country scene and wild berry found on the drive.

Quilt binding is good activity on road trips!

Started DDIL coiled basket weaving. 

I started looping Bilum weaving. Long way to go yet.

Below are photos of eco-dyeing I did with my DDIL. I have discovered lot of dye-able plants/trees on the campus where I work. I have to be quick to get the lower branches before the gardeners prune them all away. I took with me the Melbourne leaves (as Bron called them). Bron has some dye equipment so I didn't need to take any with me. 

We did bundles and jars dyeing. We streamed the bundles and in no time at all we opened them. We used varieties of leaves I took and some I gathered in Bron's garden. We are so happy with the results we got from this batch.

Jars dyeing still to be opened!

Bundles bundles!

Eucalyptus with steel-wool.
The yellow effects are from turmeric

Rose and leaves with madder roots and rusty metals.

Blue gum leaves and steel-wool.

Eucalyptus iron-bark leaves.

Bundles and a piece of silk dyed with onion skins

Nettle leaves give out beautiful yellow.

Eucalyptus silver dollars ready to roll.

Charles Bradley's rose and leaves

We went to see Charles Bradley's concert before Easter. We got a ring side stand so Charles handed me a red rose! To keep the memory alive I put the rose in a dye bundle! 

Handicraft shop in Tarcutta, NSW.

DS's long-tail bike.

In the last photo is my son's new long-tail bike that he got as a kit. He was putting it together when we were there. It's to carry both kids to and from school. He used to put them in a chariot, but they are now too big for it.  He needed my help making the seat. It was fun working in a project with my son. 

The other thing he asked me to help him was to teach him how to sew. At Christmas I gave him an old Singer 201K sewing machine that I bought for $50 years ago. I told him that the Singer 201K was the best sewing machine ever made by Singer! He looked it up and confirmed that I was right. DS wants to learn how to sew so he can start making bags for his bikes and camping. I'm pleased that he is interested in learning how to sew!

Until next time
Nat