Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fun with Fotos [again]

No, I am never going to get sick of playing with photographs.  I've not long found a free kaleidoscope download, so thought I would have a play.  I am amazed at what happens on the monitor, and thought some of the results worth sharing.  The above photo is a very close-up shot of inside one of my white roses.  I did enhance it a little, but in order to not overdo the upload, I have reduced the file a lot. 

This is one of the images that resulted from fiddling with the above photograph.  I didn't realize there were so many colours in there!!  It reminds me of something exotic.

The next image I used was a partly dead rose, and again an extreme close-up.  Sometimes these photographs don't look anything until you have them up on the monitor.

Both of these I find the most striking.  The one on the left, well, I'd love a skirt made from this if it were fabric, something swingy.
You have all sorts of options, not just kaleidoscopes.  There are 'mirrors', and 'funnels', as well as 'surfaces', ie mound, orb, etc.  This one would suit me just fine as a desktop image, but I'm not sure it would be given the stamp of approval here.........

I'm not quite done yet, so bear with me.  I used this red rosebud for a little bit more colour.  The last two images made me feel like Christmas, and I felt both of these might make ideal wrapping paper for the festive season. 

This one is really quite Christmasy in my opinion.

And now to show you that I can leave well enough alone, I'll insert a final photograph.  This is a tiny wildflower/weed.  I have only enhanced it a little, and will share it as is, as it looks so pretty.

I hope readers enjoy seeing the exciting prospects awaiting if you find the time to play.  The one thing I found about doing this was how it made me feel, ie as the colours moved and swirled around on the monitor, I have to tell you, it made me a little queasy.  I don't think it's a job for anyone who finds colour movement a little offputting, so be warned!!

Thanks for bearing with me.  I am not sure Blogger is in a good mood this afternoon, as I am having difficulty adding the images as I'd like them, and the spacings are out of whack.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Not my comfort zone!!!!!!!!!

Okay, everyone, doing this was way out of my comfort zone I can tell you.  Just recently I felt like dyeing some thread, and thought perhaps I should do it with a purpose in mind.  The above hardanger bookmark is the result of my play.  I secretly have an aversion to coloured hardanger, and I really don't know why, as I like it when it's done.........go figure!! 

I also wanted to know how much thread this might use.  I measured four lots of 10 metres in perlรฉ #8 and #12.  I thought it prudent to make something small, so it could be finished, and I could return to the big blue project.  I dyed a little Lugana as well, simply rolling it into a ball and squirting the two colours into it, then wrapped it in cling wrap for a few hours.  The Lugana I used is the piece behind the bookmark in the top photograph [I think it's a 25-ct, and yes it's cream].  Well, I can tell you I only used one length of #8, and one, plus a little of the #12, so I have some of this 'batch' left over.  More about that later.

I'd love to be able to tell you my inspiration was some exotic flower from a far away land, but alas, I can't.  I've taken this photograph, showing you the variety of colours I'm seeing in a paddock close to the houseyard.  This is a pasture grass called 'buffel grass', which makes great cattle fodder, not so with horses though.  As the seedheads mature, they take on a lovely maroon to purple colour.  The two colours I used were a purchased purple Procion dye, and my own mixture of Procion yellow and blue.  In real life the green leans very much to the yellow, and I also achieved a lovely warm brown where the two colours blended. 

Again, I have to stress that this is a first for me.  I quite like it now that it's finished, and I have to say the overdyed threads look really lovely.

I am making two more little things shortly to try something new, and with this bookmark/thread, these will form a give-away that I must do.  Some time ago I participated in a 'pay it forward' on Jennie's blog - [].  It will take a little longer yet, but I will pass on the favour.   I will try not to be so tardy in future!!!

Thanks again for the response to the wedding dress.  I love simplicity in most things.  Life gets complicated enough!! 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Another Wedding Dress

I'm back again with another wedding dress.  Late in 2009 I was asked to re-make and re-design a wedding dress for a nice young lass.  It had been her mother's of course, but the fabric was in good condition.  She didn't want anything over the top, and that is understandable given that we didn't really want to buy too much more for the making of the frock.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a photograph of the original frock.  It was typical of the seventies, ie empire line, slightly A-line skirt with seaming, train coming from back panels, some lace on the bodice, quite large sleeves, and little guipure daisies as edge trim.  Oh, and the fabric was a lovely white crepe [and still nice and white]. 

Having such a volume of fabric in the sleeves was a great help, as I was able to cut a bustier from them.  The skirt part was simply sewn in at the top area, enough to fit her waist, and that gave me enough to cut off the bottom, and discard some of the marked areas.  The little daisies came in handy for a simple asymetrical bodice trim, and a tiny bit of left over became a flower.  The only new things were the hot fix crystals [3 mm] in the daisy centres, and the continuous rhinestone beading attached to the top.

I am pleased to say she was really thrilled with the finished result, as was her mother.  This was a challenge, but one I enjoyed because of the sentiment involved.  The lass looked just stunning on her big day.  Again, simplicity seems to work in most cases.

Thank you all again for your enthusiasm regarding my hardanger.  I am so enjoying making something to fit a piece of fabric I have, rather than buying fabric to fit a design I have!!  Hope that makes sense.  

I have returned to the 'normal' font.  For some reason my monitor is displaying fonts much larger than before, and I thought that might be showing up in the big world of blogging.  I didn't want to appear to be talking at the top of my voice to attract attention.  Obviously, what I see, others don't.  Thanks for telling me. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hardanger Update

I thought it was time I added an update on the hardanger I'm working on.  I get time to stitch each day, sometimes quite a bit, especially rainy weekends when there is motor racing on TV!!  The photograph above shows the corner section with it's weaving completed, and another smaller section having a slightly different pattern.  This will be done all around the outer edge of the table runner.  I've more or less decided on all the patterning now, so it's just stitch, stitch, and more stitch from hereon in [oh and some pulling out when the counting is wrong!!].

The photograph above shows the full view of what will be the table runner.  I am sorry it's a little scrappy looking, I've not pressed it.  I won't do that until everything is finished, and it's had a little rinse out.  When I was a girl learning embroidery, my mother frowned on pressing work in progress, as she maintained one would set any body oil into the work.  Perhaps she had a point, I am not sure.  I just know I rinse everything out these days, prior to the final pressing.  I anticipate the finished article to be around 135 cm x 40 cm.  Normally I would not cut and weave prior to finishing all the kloster block work, but I had a little problem with unevenly cut fabric, as well as weaving patterns, so I did a corner just to see if all would work.  Then I had to go to the opposite corner and make sure the design would fit into what was left on that side, as that was where the offending crooked cutting was located.  Lesson learned, look, and look well before you leap, or stitch!!

This photograph is a bit of my design scribble.  I don't have a computer program for charting, and have to resort to copied clip art and good old coloured pens, not to mention sticky taping sheets together!!  Oh well, it works.

I think I should have enough fabric on the ends to make the eight drink coasters I am hoping for. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Blogging Surprise

Well, ladies, I have to mention this.  I am extremely humbled to have received this virtual blogger award from my friend Radka

I have never heard of this before, and hope I do the correct thing passing on such an award.  Thank you Radka for all the support you've shown me since our first tentative notes of friendship way back when..........  A number of blogs you've listed are ones I visit as well, so I won't add them again, those bloggers will understand.  I will list seven blogs I visit regularly, but as Radka has mentioned on her blog, listing only seven is a very difficult task, as we tend to take a look at lots of blogs each week, and love to keep up with the happenings out there.  It is almost a year since I began this blog, and every day I visit I am gobsmacked at the interest shown in the little things that I like to write about.  I know I keep saying thank you, but I'll do it again here. 

Okay, these blogs are ones I enjoy for various reasons, some because of their simplicity, and others for the opposite reason.  All offer something that I find interesting, and I hope by continuing this, many others will visit and share the experiences of these lovely ladies who are prepared to share their thoughts. 

In no order of course:-

Dian at

Robin at

Katherine at

Ruth at

Karyn at

Judy at

Vicki at

Some of these are well established blogs with many followers, others quite new to blogging.  Blogging has certainly increased my knowledge of how to work with computers and the Internet in general, and has given me so much more courage dealing with such things.

And now on a completely different note, I'll finish this post with a photograph I took the other day, and will include it here for fun, and because there are seven little raindrops sitting quietly on this geranium stem, just minding their own business.  Oh, and I must not close this post without mentioning that at last ENZO is seeing red................  one little digital cable from monitor to computer made all the difference.  Technology - don't you just love it!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Having Some Fun

I haven't blogged for a while, as I've been a little pre-occupied playing with my new toy.  I'd like to introduce everyone to ENZO.  This is our new computer, and I've given it a name, as I do with some of my appliances, ie ENZO as in FERRARI!!  It's so fast, compared to the old one, I can't believe it.  I know it seems a silly thing to blog about but to say I'm excited is an understatement.  We are still having a few teething problems, as ENZO's sidekick [the monitor] needs a digital connecting cable to enable it to see RED [which in itself is amusing given the computer's name!!].  I can only see grey, a dull lime green, and greenish blue.  If the connecting cable doesn't work, well ENZO and I may have to part company, as I can't go through life not seeing shades of red..............  I thought readers might have a little giggle about my office issues.

I also thought I'd include a photo I took a few weeks ago.  My sewing machines badly needed servicing, and for years I've taken them to a man who visits certain stores for one day a month or week, depending which town you go to.  Things just weren't working out for visiting on the right day, so I had the machines taken to the man, and have only just picked them up.  They had a little holiday, and I have to say, in 40 years, this was the first time there hadn't been a sewing machine in my house.

Thank you to all who read my rant about bias.  I just felt I needed to mention such things, as often people are not sure about certain techniques.  I have not had any formal quilt finish training, and I am sure there are more things I need to learn.  Each day searching the Internet helps satisfy my curiosity and thirst for knowledge.  What a big world we live in.

I cannot end this post without a thought for the people of Japan.  Each month of 2011 has brought new tragedies.   Floods/fires in parts of Australia in January, the dreadful earthquake in New Zealand in February, and an even more devastating one now in Japan.  One can only be fearful of what lies ahead for our world come April.  My heart goes out to those who are suffering at the moment.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bias - Bindings, Frills, and more

After my day judging show entries last Friday, I thought I might find my soap box and have something to say on an issue that interests me.  The cushion in the photograph above was made some time ago [isn't everything!!], and it contains examples of some things I am pleased with, and others that are not so much to my liking .  This rather simple example of silk ribbon embroidery was featured in an Australian magazine.  It was a quick, and pretty project I did for a certain purpose.  One thing I noticed whilst judging was the finishing on cushions.  Some cushions had floppy outers [the insert was too small for the finished article], some had frills with straight joins, some had nylon lace added to cotton fabric........................ perhaps I'd better stop there.

My main concern was seeing straight joins in frills as well as quilt bindings.  This is something I consider to be most annoying, and certainly avoidable.  In my opinion, it is much better to always join strips on the bias.  One of the reasons for this is 'camouflage', ie a bias join will almost always be invisible in patterned fabric, whereas a straight join seems to make the break in the pattern much more noticeable.  I've included a close-up of the bias join in my frill for the SRE cushion.  Another reason just makes good old common sense.  When you fold your fabric strip in half lengthwise to gather, you don't have the seam allowance in the same place, therefore your frill with pull up much easier.   Now I have to mention the things I would not do again if I made this cushion.  Bear in mind this was made for a beginner project.  I have added the borders without using a bias or mitre join.  I would not do that again!!  I've often toyed with adding net [not tulle] inside my frills to give added body, therefore eliminating the 'fall overs' one sees at times with frills.  I would be interested to hear if others have done this, or think it would be workable. 

I will also add a photograph of one of my bindings.  Many people I come in contact with say they just hate putting the binding on a quilt/wallhanging.  I love doing bindings.  When the binding is done, the article is finished.  But, I try to do my best with the binding, not just whacking it on in order to have the thing finished.  During the judging I saw lots of quilts.  The steward gasped and wondered where to start.  I have to say I start at the finish [and I mean 'finish'].  The very first thing I do is run my hands around the perimeter of the quilt.  If it hasn't been bound to my satisfaction, then there is most certainly the possiblity that the work on the quilt isn't so marvellous either.  Those that aren't bound nicely are put to one side until I find something worth looking at further.  I also found that many bindings are not folded/wrapped to enclose the quilt edge fully, ie they are a tad empty or baggy.  I also found the hand stitching was done with stitches that were too large and too noticeable, often using the thread colour for the backing, and not the binding.  In my experience a thread shade just a tad darker than your binding fabric is much less noticeable, not to mention keeping your stitches just skimming up out of the fold of the binding.  I definitely saw lots of straight joins on binding, and I don't have to tell you where those quilts were placed..............

Okay, now I've had my fifteen minutes of soapbox time, I'd better just get myself down before I fall.  I am by no means perfect with everything I do, far from it in fact, but I try to always approach a project with the idea of doing all that I can to be completely satisfied when I am finished.  We all makes mistakes, we all fudge a little to make a project work, but trying to remember some of the little things will always stand us in good stead for having a fine finish on our work, and a fine finish for me almost always has bias in there somewhere, and not just because I said so.  I am not the first one to think up these things, but if I draw attention to them, others may feel inclined to keep them in mind for their own work. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Looking Down

I'm going to bombard you with nature photos again this morning, and I really did struggle thinking up a post title.  Most of the photographs were taken at ground level, except the one above.  I was gobsmacked this morning to see this leaf and how it had been eaten - the pattern the caterpillar {??} made is so cool, I wanted to share it with everyone.  Is it any wonder those people who are good with design always tell us they get their inspiration from nature.  What a perfect little wavy pattern!!

Another leaf, another design inspiration.  I can see my friend Isabell's mind ticking over full of ideas for transforming this into something of a textile nature.  She is always one to offer her thoughts and inspiration.  I have sent her a number of strange photos during our friendship, and her ideas never cease to excite me.  Many of our eucalypts are suffering from these bumpy imperfections of late, and I hope some readers might find this interesting.

I seem to have been looking down at the ground lately, looking further into the weird and wonderful world of survival.  These strange little puff ball things have been appearing a lot lately because of the rain we've been having this summer.  I didn't realize they opened up, and formed a little flower on maturity.  They are only a dull colour, but the shapes in here are exciting.

 This seems to be a more mature specimen, a perfect little brown flower!!

Last week I was trying to use my new camera in the Macro mode, mainly taking shots of seed heads.  On closer inspection I noticed this little creature feeding on some of the seeds.  I suppose this is some type of miniature field snail.  It is not much longer than my thumb nail. 

After discovering the little guy in the above photograph, I found lots more of his mates, well, the little vacated shells that once housed his mates.  Here is a shot showing the one from above, and a vacated dwelling............

I hope my quite colourless nature shots are of interest to some.  I have severely trimmed and cut back the size of my photographs, as it was taking me forever to upload the original files, just ridiculous.  Hopefully, if you click onto the images you will be able to see enough detail to share my enthusiasm for all things great and small.

Thank you again for the encouraging comments from my last post.  I am still stitching away on my blue hardanger and will post a progress shot next week.  I had the pleasure of judging at one of our local shows yesterday.  My job {?} was to judge the sewing, needlework, knitting/crochet.  I had a great day, with so much patchwork to enjoy. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Noshi Obsession

I would like to share another piece I've made using the Japanese Noshi design.  This was a pattern I purchased from Fran McMullen of Abundia in Brisbane.  The pattern was for a quilt, but I resized the drawing down to wallhanging size.  The fabrics were all purchased from Fran via mail order swatches/phone consultation.  I have had an ongoing love affair with this noshi design for a long time, not to mention a penchant for navy/putty/rust printed fabrics.

Each pattern piece was reversed, traced onto lightweight fusible vilene, and then ironed to the back of the fabrics.  I cut them out with a small turn allowance, pressed that to the back, tacked it and then tacked it to the background prior to the blind applique.  My goodness, it was a long winded procedure, but I am pleased with the result.  The effect is exactly the same as the needle turn method, just a lot more time consuming!

The background has been quilted by hand using the traditional Sashiko designs, with normal hand quilting thread, not Sashiko thread.  I didn't want that heavy look on my background.  The borders have been simply cross-hatch quilted, wider spacing at the top, closer at the bottom.  I hope the photos give an indication of what has been done.

At the moment I don't have sufficient wall space to hang this piece, but hopefully in my 'town house' [retirement days] I may finally be able to display this along with the blackwork stitched Noshi design I did.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Generous Gifts

Firstly, I must apologize for my absence from blogging.  The heat has been awful here lately, and I don't use the office much when the mercury is being nasty, plus I have had to do some stitching, and took advantage of a chair under an airconditioner duct [no flies on me!!].

Secondly, I must sincerely thank people for their lovely comments regarding my last post.  I am so pleased my little boxes were a hit with readers.  They are certainly some of my favourite pieces.

Now, to the subject of today's post.  Recently I was fortunate to have been chosen the winner of a give-away on Frances Leate's blog  -

To say this give-away is generous is an understatement.  I have photographed [above] the fabrics included in the package, ie eight fat quarters, all in these glorious colours.  The contents were carefully wrapped in one of the quarters, and tied with a lovely cream satin ribbon, but I neglected to take the shot prior to opening said prize!!

But wait, there's more!!!  Also included were several patterns, a new rotary cutting wheel [which I really needed], and a sweet little folding mirror to slip into one's purse - all will be put to good use in time.

I find that in every package I receive there is always one highlight.  I know this seems silly, but in the parcel I received from Frances the highlight for me was the beautiful card that she included.   I just have to share it with everyone.  Oh, to live in times where clothing was so glamorous!!!  The simple colour pallette used in this card exudes class in my opinion, and I shall enjoy it for a long time to come.  I am sorry the camera flash has spotted the photograph.  

Thank you Frances, I am overwhelmed by your generosity.

And now to another gift I received not long ago.  I recently participated in a bit of fun on Jenster's blog -
Jennie very kindly sent me these little handbag must have's - a little notebook with hand embroidered cover [somewhere to record the stitching 'needs'], and a little 'named' pouch.  This little pouch holds a lovely carry bag, at the ready for those stitching purchases.  I have to say I think it may belong to another Linda, as I would put the description of the one who lives here as 'easily distracted'...............  Thank you so much Jennie for these.  I will continue the 'pay it forward' fun soon.  I am busy with a stitching job at the moment, and need to sort out something suitable for that type of give-away.  I hope when I post it, people will consider being part of the fun.

Thank you all again for taking an interest in my posts.  I do appreciate the time people put into reading blogs and commenting.  We all have so much to learn from one another, and I for one, enjoy the experience.