Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rag Rugging, Eco Dyeing Fun & Embroidery Books

  Recently, I  did a workshop at Toowoomba Quilters club with a local lady, Kathy Adams from KoolKat Quilting.  Kathy showed us how to do a rag rug (or bowls, or placemats or another myriad of things) using a ‘toothbrush’ tool.  It was a lot of fun.

 Rag Rug w toothbrush thingy

Mine is quite misshapen at the moment – it is meant to be oval  LOL and will eventually be a placemat.  Think I have to work on the increasing technique Smile


…………….Kathy with the little blue tool.

When Shirley and I went to the recent Embroiderer’s Guild Open Day we found some fantastic books for just $2!!!

Shirley couldn’t resist buying me this one because I have for a long time drooled over her copy.

Inspired to Stitch

This book is so inspirational and it never fails to give you an idea for a creative embroidery which is a passion of both Shirley’s and mine.

I also picked up the following 2 books which are proving to be wonderful.  So many fabulous ideas.

Creative Hand EmbroideryThe stitches of creative Emb

After the visit to the ATASDA display right here in our fair city, Shirley and I were motivated to do some ‘eco dyeing’. 

I was boiling up all sorts of things (much to my husband’s amusement).  Some of them worked – some didn’t.  We need to buy some alum to help set the natural dyes but have yet to find a good source for it at a reasonable price.

Lavender boil up

Lavender boiling up

Fabric in blueberry

Fabric cooking in blueberry juice


Fabric in Redwine vinegar

Fabric soaking in red wine vinegar

Jacaranda pods

Jacaranda seed pods ready for stewing.


Here are some of my dyeings.


Blueberries – tied and pleated.


Turmeric – very bright


Turmeric over fabric stamped with large bubble wrap.

Alas I cannot show you the lavender experiment – it is too pale and insipid.  It would have been a lovely golden yellow brown if I had alum to treat the fabric with first.  The fabric just did not absorb the colour.

The jacaranda pod dye was the most beautiful russet colour but, once again, it didn’t absorb into the fabric.

Instead it got ‘the treatment’ and ended up all rusty

Rusted piece oct 2013

The background is quite grey in real life.

There is more…. but … another time.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Collaging, Sewing, Inspirations, Spring Fever and more…..

It is a while since I blogged but I have been busy behind the scenes.  Plenty of socializing and outings and a bit of creative sewing and of course the ordinary mundane stuff everyone has to do when they would rather be creating!!!
A funny type of Spring Fever has hit me in the way of a head cold.  It has been so very hot, and having a head cold in the heat is no fun, let me tell you.
  Star Jasmine 2013Star Jasmine in situ 2013
This is one of our magnificent star jasmine plants.  I wish we had smell-a-blog so you could share the scent with me.  The smell reminds me that Melbourne Cup day is coming soon and that summer is fast approaching.

Block keeper for ShirleyBlock Keeper pink
I made this block keeper for my dear friend, Shirley, to store her embroidery pieces in while they are awaiting to be put into her amazing embroidery book. 
The pattern is one I have used before, and is a tutorial my the lovely and delightful Teresa from All Things Vintage.  Pop over and see Teresa’s blog and be inspired to craft more.  She really gets things done!!  Thank you for your wonderful tutorial, Teresa.
In the past week I signed up for a fabric collage workshop with Deborah Boschert, “Branches, Buds and Blossoms”.  Things were going swimmingly until the sound jack decided not to work on my computer inside the house.  I have soldiered on and this is the piece so far – just fabric placement at this stage.  It is so much fun!  I can’t wait to embellish it and do some hand stitching on it.
 Final Layout
The final layout before embellishing.
Feature Fabric
The feature fabric.

The Toowoomba Quilter’s retreat was held on Oct 11-13 and it was fabulous, as usual.  We don’t have to lift a finger, just sit, chat, sew and eat (in any order)… all in a bushland setting. 
At retreat 2013
L-R Debbie, Vicki, Sally and Dianne – yes, me.
The quilt group also ran a bus to the Queensland Quilt show in Brisbane. 
This quilt by Olive Claydon won the Viewer’s choice award and well deserved.  All tiny hexagons!!!!  Well done, Olive.  isn’t it amazing???
You can see more of the winners HERE on the Qld Quilters website.
I bought a few goodies but most of it is just card crafting and textile art stuff.  No fabric was purchased (for a change). 
These really cool stencils.  A couple of them by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer whose journal work I love.
Hemp thread, Acrylic glazes, gold rubbing stuff, acrylic ink sprays, cog wheels stamp and a watercolour pad.  I just wanna PLAY.
In the past week, Shirley and I also visited a display by the local Toowoomba Embroiderer’s Guild and a display by ATASDA (Australian Textile and Surface Design Association). Both very inspiring.
After our visit to the ATASDA display, Shirley and I were inspired to do some botanical dyeing.
More on that later………………Until next time.........Dianne

Saturday, October 5, 2013

While the Cat’s Away

When my hubby went away to Sydney for the football finals,  I got quite a bit done in the sewing room and on UFO’s.  He doesn’t mind me going off to the sewing room when he is around,  but he tends to hi-jack me and drag me off to do other things!!  Don’t get me wrong – I miss him when he is away and always look forward to his return.Smile
030  009
At the recent quilt show I was demonstrating the olfa circle cutter.  It is a great little tool and you always get an accurate circle.  It took a little bit of mastering, but well worth it if you are going to be cutting a lot of circles for a project.
x-defaultMe showing how it’s done!
For instance, by just doing an edge stitching around your circle and cutting it into quarters or triangles you can do all the variations of Drunkard’s Path without doing curved seams.  I know - cheating!!
“Playing with Circles”  Quilt made by Fay Suley                  Fay – demonstrating Kaleidoscopes at show
There are so many modern and stunning quilts you can make with circles.  The circle cutter demonstration was very popular and now I have a whole heap of random circles and some very holy fabric to play with!! 
Shirley  was showing her embroidery skills and it was creating a lot of interest. (That is her stunning underwater reef embroidery on the steps behind her).
I took my iron and portable ironing board along to the show and set it up.  Unfortunately, one of the ladies accidentally ironed some fusible material and it got stuck all over the iron and made a terrible mess of both the iron and ironing board.
I have tried everything I know of to get the black spots and marks off the sole plate of the iron to no avail!
As for the ironing board, I whipped up a new cover using a tutorial from here:
It was easy and I just used a bit of charity fabric this time, but next time I could really jazz it up with something funky.
Recently I purchased some polyester batting from a large craft supermarket.  I chose a polyester ‘cheapy’ because the project I wanted it for was a quilt that was going to be washed a lot.  If you see this one – my advice – don’t waste your money.  I am going to chop it up and use it for stuffing.  It stretches everything out of shape and you can’t get it to sit flat at all.
006-001I have purposely blurred out the name but you get the idea?
I went back to the brand I love and I purchased the fusible one from a local distributor, Pauline Rogers from ‘Quilters World’.  The fusible one was brilliant for the small project I was using it for and it remained well fused as I quilted it. 
Pauline has all manner of items you may need for quilting and patchwork, and another tool I really love is the Charisma marking pencil.  When you purchase it, she gives you both white and black leads, refills, and an instruction sheet which is important to read.   I am rapt in mine and use it all the time now for marking.
Are you getting the message that I may be a bit of a quilting gadget geek???
Until next time………Dianne