>fly by


Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Terry Pratchett crossed with Franz Kafka.
Also reading:
a stack of back issues of Textile Fibre Forum which was not a good idea cos the brain has gone into meltdown. It’s the same if more than a couple of mags arrive in the same week. Can’t handle the sensory overload. Mind you filling in forms of more than one page has been known to have the same effect.
On the hook:
ACKrylic Ripple Baby Blanket in aqua, lemon, cream and mauve. Being done as a favour to a good friend who will be gifting it to yet another friend of hers in August. Don’t think she realised that it would be 25 hours plus work. I strongly suspect that she asked me to do this rather than a quilt because she thought this would be faster or easier in some way. Could’ve whipped up a far more creative and unique machine pieced and quilted cot quilt in a similar time frame.
Listening to:
the Project Spectrum red/black/metallic CD that I won from the delightful Chris over at Stumbling over Chaos . Almost all artists that I was unfamiliar with and some not my taste but I’m enjoying discovering new sounds.
Waiting for:
the bag I knitted this week and felted last night to dry.
I didn’t show you any in progress photos in case I buggered it up which is always possible when you are making things up as you go especially when the somewhat unpredictable ‘art’ of felting is involved. At least with a bag, the finished dimensions aren’t critical. It will fit SOMETHING… but just to be on the safe side I didn’t knit the handle on. Figured if I made it separate and it was too long I could adjust the placement. As it turned out, I think the length is just about perfect so I COULD have just knitted it straight on… but if I hadn’t done it this way… well Mrs Murphy’s Law would’ve almost certainly come into play. Figures. More about the specifics of size and yarn when its done.
Oh and I also knitted up a black alpaca version of Coronet. Quite a nice knit and I only made a couple of smallish changes mostly to deal with the fact that I was using a thinner yarn, and that for some unknown reason, I didn’t feel like knitting it in the round. Can you guess what Coronet taught me?
Well, basically, it taught me that my beanie wearing days are definitely behind me. I look like shite in it so there are no modelled photos of the FO
and Nadie doesn’t wear close fitting hats.
So now I have to either a] figure out who it WOULD suit [ DS#1 would look great in it but maybe alpaca’s too girly for a 32 yr old male ] OR b] I have to unsew the seam and then frog it. Would’ve been easier if I HAD knit it in the round. Bugger.
the first eight eps of the new season of Dr Who courtesy of my darling daughter and the BBC. Don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers for the rest of you… oh and I’ve got the whole series of Torchwood too.
Thinking about:
the next quilt project and psyching myself into cutting up some of my bestest hand painted and sundyed fabric.

>Birthday MeMe


I didn’t know that this one was doing the rounds until I got tagged by Ms FrouFrou but here’s the drill:
you have to log onto http://www.wikipedia.org/ and type in your birthdate [ without the year ]. Peruse the results and give us 2 birthdays, 3 events and one holiday.
16th December

didn’t need to look up the birthdays. This part was easy.


Jane Austen


South Africa – Reconciliation Day [ instituted after the end of Apartheid ]


1653 – English Interregnum – Oliver Cromewell becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland

1773 – Boston tea Party. Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawks dump crates of tea into Boston harbor as a protest against the Tea Act.

and I’m throwing in a personal one – 1999 Marc, my husband of 25 years passed away after a long battle with cancer, aged 49. Needless to say birthdays are not exactly joyous any more. Sorry folks. If you were expecting feelgood this ain’t it.

I’m tagging:

Sheepish Annie




Tanya the Art Butcher

>vintage needlework basket to die for


I actually took these photos a while ago but realised that I’d never gotten around to posting them.

This piece is a beautiful chinese-made needlework basket most probably from the 19th century, and it is housed in the collection at Buda which is a historic house here in Castlemaine.
Normally this basket is well behind velvet ropes, but one day someone had obviously moved them, and I had the camera, so of course I took advantage of the opportunity to get up close and personal.
The inlay inside the lid is in fabulous condition and a lot of the [ presumably original ] fittings and tools are still there. A friend who volunteers at Buda told me that there has been some pilferage in the past so a couple of the smaller sewing items have gone walkies. The silk bag underneath where one would have stored WIPs has seen better days but it’s still obvious that this would’ve been an extremely expensive piece.
Buda belonged to a well known and talented Hungarian silversmith, Ernest Leviny, from 1863. Five of his very artistic daughters never married and the house is filled with their embroideries, paintings, copper enamelling, even wrought iron work which would have been a very unusual pastime for a well brought up young woman in those days one would think. The interesting thing about the Buda story is that the last of the daughters lived to a very very old age, by which time all the money had long run out and so she was reduced to living in penury in one heated room in this huge old house. This lack of funds meant that the furnishings pretty much remained untouched even down to the original hall carpets from 1850.
When she died in 1981, the house was left to the people of Castlemaine. and is a veritable time capsule of affluent high victorian life. Oh and the nearly 2 hectares of gardens aren’t half bad either even with the ravages brought by the drought.

>I’m still using it Mum

>Maz and Linda have both posted recently about vintage needlebooks so I promised that I would too.

THIS rather plain little needlebook was made by my late mother in primary school, most probably around 1930 or 31 [ based on the fact that she was born in 1920 ]

The stitching is crude and the colour is awful but still bright and still serving its purpose after over 70 years of use.

I have a reasonable collection of needlebooks, hussifs, pincushions and sewing caddies of one sort and another. In fact all the sewing paraphenalia that you would expect a quilter to have made or acquired in a quarter century of stitching [ not counting a decade of dressmaking before that ] but this battered little piece holds fond memories of a mother who couldn’t sew to save herself but still held onto this treasure from her childhood.
I’m not even sure at what stage it came into my possession. I just seem to have always had it.
Nadie you are NEVER to throw this out!

oh and people? Maz is having a contest and all you have to do is tell her about your collections.

zero degrees again last night

>Fabrications [ bulletpoint ramble ] – actual quilt content!!

>As promised, my impressions of the Fabricate Exhibition by TAG [ Textile Art Group ] at the Embroiderers’ Guild, 170 Wattletree Road, Malvern. Given that the migraine is still hovering, I’ve opted for the rambling bullet point approach over the carefully crafted:

  • when we arrived there was a video presentation already underway so we had to creep in quietly by the ‘tradesman’s entrance’.
  • overall impression? Well worth a visit if you have even a passing interest in contemporary embroidery, quilting, felting and hand dyeing. A small exhibition but beautifully balanced and presented.
  • At a lot of exhibitions of this type, one is generally very aware of pieces that have been ‘let down’ by poor finishing / cheap framing / poor hanging. Certainly I’ve been guilty of that myself in the past when funds were limited. That was not the case here. Thought had been applied to choice of framing materials and where money needed to be spent, it clearly had been but at the same time, none of the framing overwhelmed its subject matter. There were no grubby finger marks. Stretched canvases were finished properly around the sides. There was really only one piece that was not displayed to best advantage and I know from talking to a friend who was on duty, that it was not from want of trying: many strategies had been tried with lighting etc.
  • The piece in question is cream stitching on cream transparent silk and it was suspended in the middle of the floor space. Perhaps hanging it 12″ or so from a wall with a low front spot so that the shadow of the stitching is cast onto the wall might have worked better, but I can only say that because I saw a similar strategy used on an all-cream piece at a show I recently attended at the Central Goldfields Gallery in Maryborough. Oh well. As it was, it was a valiant effort and very nearly successful.
  • Almost all the girls from Maryborough commented to me that their recent work with photo transfer, fusibles, shibori, fabric printing, sashiko, etc, had given them a far greater appreciation of what they were looking at. They were mostly able to look beyond the initial impact of form, line and colour, to focus on technique. I think it was an interesting experience for them to connect the processes that they have been working with to these quite polished and thoughtful [ in the main ] products.
  • the artists’ statements were the usual mix of the insightful, the self-agrandising and the hyperbolic. Poor grammar and mangled syntax aside, mostly they were quite helpful but I have to wonder why we feel the need to do this with fibre arts when it’s rarely done with fine arts. Is it that the process is often as important as the product when dealing with fibrearts?
  • If you DO go [ and it’s on until July 8 – 10 till 4 weekdays, 10 till 5 weekends $5 entry ] seriously consider spending $10 on the DVD.
  • The major prize winner was a representation of bushfire using a collage technique with extraordinarily subtle use of photo transfer, printing and stitching. The photos were a harmonious part of the whole, not ” Hey look! Aren’t I clever? I’m up with the new technology. I used a real photo here! ” Often I get the impression that photos are used because it’s the easier option. That was SO not the case here. In fact, it was worth going, just for that piece.
  • Mind you that wasn’t the one I voted for for Viewer’s Choice. My favourite was a largish piece of multi layered hand felting, in cream, honeyed tones and browns, heavily stitched with running stitch and [I think ] split stem stitch in a heavy brown thread. The running stitching wasn’t quite sashiko, but sort of heading that way and added a whole extra layer to a piece that was already a beautiful confection of shapes and colours and textures. not even “MY” colours, but I really felt drawn to it.
  • Because I don’t have the individual artists permission, I can’t show you the photos that I took [ with permission from a committee person ] but here’s a sort of general shot to give you a sense of the space

>Can I have a little whine with that?


In accordance with the ‘no posting while under the influence of a migraine’ rule, there will be no post today.

Yes. I do realise that technically this is a post … but …erm… uh …

oh bloody hell … here’s a gratuitous cute cat to be going on with. I’ll be back tomorrow or Saturday. Whenever I can extricate what feels like an extremely large ice pick from my left temporal lobe.

>random wednesday photos

>I’ve spent most of today on a bus down to Melbourne and back to see the TAG Fabrications exhibition at the Embroiderers’ Guild.. My rear hurts. I had a fabulous day. Too tired to post properly and can’t sit for too long, so you’ll get the report tomorrow.

Instead you get some of the stuff I didn’t get around to earlier in the week.
If you’ve been paying attention, you know that Nadie came up on a flying visit on Sunday to drop the grandkittens off while she and The Boy are up in Queensland.

Before she headed home again on Monday, we squeezed in a visit over to Daylesford … Purl’s Palace for me, Dragons and Dreaming for her, Himalaya Bakery for both of us.

While we were at Purl’s that little black sheepy tape measure tried the old ” take me home, take me home” spiel and my beloved daughter decided it needed to live with me and the flock. Call it a belated Mother’s day pressie. One of black sheep’s paler sisters came too and is going to be rehomed with Caity once I get to the Post Office [ tomorrow Caity, I promise, it’s been a busy week]. Oh and Maz? I got your Knitting Nancy while I was there. Everybody happy :]

Anyway, here’s the black sheep of the family settling into the bottom pasture while the rest of the flock graze the top paddock.
Nadie gets up close and personal with some of the locals [ awwwwwwwwwwww]


for all you shoe freaks … I spotted this in the window of a local … ahem … ADULT store. Yes. We do have one here in the wilds of Central Vic.

and this? oh, this is nothing. Move along. Move along.

No I didn’t fall off the Knit From Your Stash 07 wagon … well, not much. There were these 22 x 50 gram balls of Heirloom pure wool at the Op Shop [ Thrift Store] for $15. 16 were new and 6 had been frogged and rewound. So that’s over a kilo of wool. It’s normally around $4.50 a ball. What was a girl supposed to do? It’s not quite a hot pink and not quite a cherry red either, but more red than the photo shows and totally luscious. Yes. I thought you’d understand. No, I don’t know what I’m going to make with it … and your point is???

oh yeah :

minus point 4 again last night