July 30, 2016

July Activities

If you haven't noticed, July is almost over. I bet some of you are thinking of Christmas decorations and shopping for gifts or making those special handmade gifts.

It has been a busy July for me.  I had family over for the first week of July. It was really fun to have DIL and GS over to play with. It went far too fast. Before you know it, it was over! So they left and we are back to a quiet house again. 

Later on in July I visited Ziguzagu for their winter sale. I came away with scrumptious goodies including my first boro cloth I've ever bought. I should have bought one when they were cheaper. To think that I introduced boro cloths to them more than 5 years ago! Anyway, it is what it is! The boro cloth I bought is really meant for me. Even though it was tattered, torn and for some it's just a rag. Firstly, I love the colour of indigo blue. I could see beyond what it is. All the patches are covered in lovingly stitches. With some loving care I can bring it back to live. What amazed me is that it smells clean and was well cared for before I got it. You will see photos below.

Apart from shopping for a bargain I went to an antique quilt exhibition called 'Making the Australian Quilt 1800-1950'. There were some awesome quilts on display. I only took some photos of the quilts I like to share with you here. Also photos for some dyeing I did in the last couple of weeks.

The Westbury Quilt (Sampler quilt).
A striking white embroideries on red background.

Wagga quilt from suiting samples

Wagga Quilt, Salesman's Samples 1920

Hexagon quilt c.1830, work ing progress.

Early Tasmanian crib quilt c. 1850

My very own quilt using natural dyed samples
and natural/eco dyed silk border.

Backing of the above quilt showing
hand quilting stitches.

A new cover for my journal for Hokkaido trip.

Some scrumptious batches of dyeing.

The results from the above bundles

This one is also from the above bundle.

Photos below are from my shopping at Ziguzagu's winter sale. Ziguzagu has got everything from vintage textiles, ceramics, furniture and ornaments from Japan. 

Ziguzagu warehouse

My day bargains

BORO cloth spreading in the Treehouse 

BORO cloth hanging out to air. 

Close up of lovingly made stitches on BORO cloth

Another vintage tin (middle top shelf)

The cold and wet weather is still hanging around. It's good for taking daily walks, but definitely not good for 6:00 am exercise classes! Yes I have signed up for 3 months of boot-camp classes twice a week. The benefit from getting up early is I have free time after work. I'm also feeling good and have more energy! As I'm getting older, I feel I'm not as active as I used to be. Putting myself into the routine of going to the gym is working for me. It certainly makes me healthier. 

Until next time

July 7, 2016

Mostly Dyeing and Stitching

It's been awhile since I updated my blog, but the dyeing and stitching is still going on. I got into the  habit of photographing so my photos are handy whenever I have time to blog. 

At the end of June I was away to look after my GS for a week. It was a nice change from my normal work routine. While I was away I did quite a bit of eco-dyeing and a bit of stitching as well. I started working on a journal cover for my trip to Hokkaido later this year. I completed the journal cover and I was told I should keep it as a decorative cloth instead of making it into journal cover!  

Should I use it for a journal cover
or a decorative cloth?

Quickly whipped up 2 more needle rolls for
gifts while I was away.

Rolled-up lots and lots of bundles while
I was away. 

Sharing my newly acquired vintage tin and
other favourite things.

Some great results from the dyed bundles. 

Half and half opened bundle

Bright and clear printing on wool.

I remembered to photograph it before rolling it up

Lovely gift from DIL. She made this for a
class sample.

On my return I hung some of the new pieces in
the Treehouse Studio.

I don't think I've shown you my new floor cushions
I brought back from Metsovo, Greece

Chocolate fountain cookies as GS calls them. 

I have a few more stitching projects in the works. I've finished quilting one and I am just waiting for binding. Hopefully I can show it to you in my next blog update. I must say I'm enjoying my dyeing and stitching right now. 

We are just about more than halfway into our winter. Apart from being cold, it has been raining a lot too. When I was away in Canberra I felt that our Melbourne winter is very mild in comparison to Canberra. I actually felt hot the night after my return. I do like cooler weather more than warmer weather!

Until next time

June 16, 2016

Commissioned Work - Sun and Earth

My commissioned work project is completed, sent and received. I can now blog about it and include the feedback from Debra SposaHere is what she said: 

Hello Nat!!!

OMG, what a beautiful piece of art this is.  Stunning in so many ways.  Wow!  Just love it.  Your stitching is perfection, the design so alive but in a very tranquil way.  Just thrilled with the piece.

Thank you so much for taking on my challenge. 
Your biggest fan,

Deb told me she really likes my work and would I create her something. I agreed without a deadline. I have been thinking about it for a while now. When I started one I couldn't stop, so I ended up making 4 little blocks together and combining them on a piece of vintage Japanese hem. I'm happy that Deb is happy with it too.

I met Deb through my blog many years ago. Deb is high school art teacher. She told me she often inspires her students with what I do and posted on my blog. I'm so thrilled to hear that my humble creations have a positive influence on younger generations. Deb regularly posts her students' work on her blog as well. 

Four little blocks together

Block #1

Block #2

Block #3

Block #4

I called my commissioned work Sun and Earth. The name came to me when I worked on the final block, block #4. It's actually gave itself a name when I accidentally stitched the Sun on it. 

I had a lot of fun creating these little blocks. I sometimes had stitching block. I'd walk away for a bit. When I took it up again I moved forward with stitching. It would tell me when it is done as well. Does that happen to you too?

Thanks Deb, for challenging me to create it for you. I have made a few little blocks for exhibition, and in future I might have to make more, but this is the biggest project I've ever made.

Until next time

May 31, 2016

Re Purpose and Dyeing Stuff!

I have been busy! What news right? Real winter is settling-in here in Melbourne. Winter is late this year. I felt that it might never come. Cold weather is good to snuggle in and work on something soft and woolly. I have done a lot of things lately, but today I'm only going to show you my latest project made from a woollen baby blanket. 

I have been busy dyeing weird and wonderful stuff. When I spotted a brand new woollen baby blanket at my local op-shop for only $8.25 I had to have it! I know that wool dyes like a dream!

For dyeing I cut the blanket into sections small enough to roll in bundles. I stuffed eucalyptus leaves inside each piece. Rolled and steamed. I love and treasure this blanket, and now I can share what I made from it with my stitching friends to love and use for years to come. 

Cut and ready to dye.

Wonderful result with rust objects
to add extra dimension.

Trimmed to size and added blanket stitches.
Very simple!

Added wool felt dyed previously on the inside.
I've left a small opening to keep thread.

Feeling very pleased with myself after the fourth roll. I made the cords using dyed threads. The buttons are vintage ones from my button tins. I posted them up today on my Instagram feed and I was asked if they are for sale! I will continue making them until I use up all of the blanket. I love the mass production process with whatever I'm making. It's the quilter in me coming out! 

Until next time

May 4, 2016

Post 2016 Textile Trip

It has been a busy couple of weeks since I returned from the SE Asia textile trip. I had arranged a few activities prior to my travel. The activities were of fun things to do, one of which was to visit Australian Quilt Convention, AQC. The Australian quilt show is not as big as the one in Europe or the US, but to me it's big enough! I don't go to many of these shows now, but at this one I wanted to go and say hi to Victoria Findlay Wolfe. When I met her in Seattle last year I told her I would meet her in Melbourne and I've kelp my word. Victoria was teaching, but she spared the time to have a chat with me when I got there. Her workshop was so colourful and lively. I loved what her students were doing with Victoria's modern twist of double wedding ring blocks. 

While I was at AQC I had a good look at the quilt exhibition as well. The ones that caught my eyes were Wartime quilts made mainly by men during the wars. Also the red and white quilts. 

On Sunday my colleagues and I visited the National Gallery of Victoria to see 200 Years of Australian Fashion and I did squeezed in dyeing on Sunday afternoon. Below are photos from many activities in the last two weeks.

The view of AQC from the balcony

Repost this from Victoria's Instagram

Wool quilt, all hand pieced.

Quilt made by men

Image from a magazine article

Simple red and white quilt

Another gorgeous red and white quilt

Victoria Findlay Wolfe's MOD wedding quilt

Some images from 200 Years of Australian Fashion showing at the National Gallery of Victoria. 

Results of the colourful dyed fabric from the dye batch. I've received a lot of inquiries from my Instagram feeds how I get such vivid colours from my dyes? My answer is always the same, time and patience! 

Hanging them out to dry

I also attended a two-day workshop on Seedpods Art with Sophie Munns. Like all workshops, once you get there you always learn something new and become engrossed in whatever comes your way. I can't say I learned how to draw anything complicated. It was a fun workshop and I highly recommend it. 

Sophie's drawing and some seedpods

My attempt at drawings

My colourful painting

The group paintings

Returning from the workshop with leftover seedpods. I had an urge to make ink out of them. I had some Eucalyptus base leftover from dyeing so I added the seedpods and started boiling it for hours.  

Here they are, seedpods ink and walnut ink. 

Well, I'm keeping myself busy with what life throws at me. I don't have long enough time to just sit and finish any project in a hurry. I've come to accept that what make me most happy is when I create! I have many quilts and textile pieces I made, but they stayed hidden in the closet and rarely get used. 

I'm happy to inspire people to create. So if you read my post and have any questions regarding what I do please do not hesitate to leave me comment with your reply-able comment and I will be happy to get back to you with the answer if I can.

Until next time