Friday 6 February 2009

Thinking of a new technique?

Have you tried your hand at a stencil quilt yet?
Stencilling is an heirloom quilting technique, it was practised by the earliest quilters. Today, I havent noticed many quilters embracing the possibility and scope that a stencil quilt can offer....why not?
If you're thinking of trying a new technique, or if you thought stencilling was 'too modern'....think again! Stencilling is a beautiful, skillful craft, why not incorporate some stencil blocks into your next quilt?

Thursday 5 February 2009

My Heat Struck Garden

Being in a heat wave and draught means that my garden isnt looking as lush as I wish it was. I've had to plant draught hardy blooms, which aren't as lovely to look at, but at least they stop the garden looking totally barren.

Due to water restrictions, the plants have pretty much been left to their own devices. I've newspapered and mulched, some have thrived, some have died. The boring plants seem to survive. I have a creeping rose bush which yearly gives out masses of small scented blooms and although it's sunburnt and struggling, it always comes back good. I'm always suprised at the fight for life that roses manage, it's a bit of hope in a dry garden where you find yourself yearing for beauty.

My fern leaves are crisp brown wafts that break off in the wind and what I think was once a rather beautiful shrub ( I can't remember, its been so long) is now just dried twigs.

I yearn to sit in a garden brimming over with the flowers I have planted in the past: the many varied roses, from carpet hedges to elegant long stemmed blooms that loved a severe dead heading and pruning any time of year, the canterbury bells, the bavardia, the geranium, the poppy, the white and pink hydrangia, the 5 lots of lavendar from white to violet...I can see and smell them already....

I admire the local gardeners who have altered their former green European gardens and worked tirelessly to re-create Australian gardens. Personally, I love succulents and just a few cactuses here and there, but I'm not inspired enough to change my whole idea about what a garden is.

Realistically, the only plants that can truly survive in this climate are natives, and whilst people some love them, they all look like boring dried out tuffs of grass to me, and I'm not afraid to say so.

Frankly, it's too hot to go outside, or sit outside. I think twice about walking from my front door to the car when I want to go somewhere. Sometimes it's just not worth the heat stress. I think the only lush garden I'll be enjoying this summer is a stencilled one.


What a relief - it's 'only' going to be be 30C today. That means I can finally finish quilting.

Yes it appears that I'm back online! Hopefully that will be the last meltdown I have to endure... I'm a week behind thanks to the heatwave.

My sewing machine overheated and knotted the threads
and bobbin spool.... so I had to leave it alone, it just didn't want to stitch in the heat, and either did I.

I've found that a lot of electrical good seem to malfunction when it gets above 35C so I decided not to push it. This morning it's stitching just fine.

Still, I'm one on the lucky ones - I didn't have to suffer any blackouts during the heat. I really detest suffocating heat - it's just paralysing. I didn't accomplish anything. So today I'm making up for lost time.

These are some fishy pictures that my daughter took to help inspire my quilting. I'm always find bodies of water alluring: from the sea, to rock pools, ponds, deep puddles, fountains to fish in a bowl...I just love observing the life going on beyond the rippling surface.

Its all to do with layers, thats what makes the ordinary seem so extraordinary in my eyes: I love the yellow unfurled inner petals of a blooming red flower....or moving through layers of dense green tree foliage to uncover an unexpected birds nest spun from abandoned bright threads amongst the twigs....or stencilling - stencils are improved by colour layers, as is quilting itself. Ahhh, layers. I feel ready to quilt again...

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Heat Wave Aftermath

My internet provider Hotkey has been experiencing technical issues...a melt down...basically it means that I have not been receiving emails and my internet access is patchy at best. Hotkey expects to be back to routine by the end of the week. Until then, I'm pretty much offline.

If you have sent me an email - I have not received it. Would you please re-send it again next week (to be on the safe side)

Thanks for your understanding during this frustrating time


Friday 30 January 2009

too hot to blog

Stuck in a record breaking heat wave. Everything I've started: I've stopped. It's too hot to quilt and it's too hot to blog.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Heat Wave

It's going to be one of those weeks! I can't wait to get tothe other side of it.

There's a heatwave expected all this week (I'm already heat exhausted) and, in typical fashion, I have 2 quilts to quilt lined up. What was I thinking? I've decided to stick with my quilting schedule - this year I want no ensure no more UFO's are created (actually I wanted to dust off and finish all the ones I already have) and this means working to a plan. As much as I resist plans, I've reached the point of having to get seriously scheduled.

This is hard for me - with quilting I prefer to work as the mood takes me. However this has also meant that I actually do have a lot of UFO's, a lot to quilts ready to quilt, a lot of new design stencils and a lot of new quilts waiting in the wings. I decided that this year was going to be stash busting, and it's also going to be working through some 'must make' quilts.

This week I also started preparing for some workshops coming in the next few weeks. I really enjoy teaching stencilling - it's a great workshop and I'm always impressed with what fellow quilters and curious students manage to create after just a day of learning the technique.

Of course, workshop planning wouldn't be complete without some supply issues. I'm currently trying to source the right shade of paints - it appears that everyone shops for art supplies at the same time!

Sometimes the organising takes more time than the workshop itself.

Well, I know I shouldnt complain, at least I'm sweating over something I enjoy doing....

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Feeling Creative?

...then get out your stencilling brush!

One thing I really love about quilting is it's scope.... to challenge, delight, inspire and encourage - that's how I got into stencilling, and I haven't looked back.

If you'd like to try something new and you're in Melbourne next month, why not come along to the AQC - Australian Quilters Convention? I'm a tutor this year and my workshop will be exploring stencilling.

This wall hanging, Not Quite Shabby Chic is one of my favourite workshop quilts to teach - its so adaptable, just a switch of colours can change the whole feeling, the stencil roses bouquet in the centre is a really rewarding (and straight forward) piece to stencil.

If you have'nt tried stencilling yet, you're missing out!

Click the AQC button on the left hand side of this blog for more info!

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