some sashiko play

We just recently had a visit to Gatton from the ladies from Indigo Niche, Sue and Colleen. They came to give a workshop to our quilt group on the traditional Japanese art of Sashiko stitching. This is one of their samples- not mine!
Sashiko is deceptively simple but there are little tricks to get the best from your stitching, and like everything practise makes perfect.
We’ve learnt that the more stitching we do, the more consistent we get with stitch length and the straighter our stitches are! We were also lucky to have a trunk show where Sue and Colleen showed us some beautiful quilts and runners which had utilised sashiko in them.
IN3This next one showcased some lovely quilting as well.
It was really interesting to see how a panel of sashiko stitching could be incorporated into a quilt design; the following was one of my favourites. It joined both aboriginal fabrics and a sashiko panel very effectively.
As Sue explained, you can also vary how you do the sashiko as well- vary the design using some of the elements, leave some parts unstitched altogether and feature some negative space, or vary the colours of the threads and fabric. It doesn’t all have to be on the traditional indigo or dark coloured fabric ground.
And this jacket- everyone wanted to take it home! Sue had found it in Japan. It is made in the ‘boro’ style, utilising lots of little scraps sewn on top of each other to patch the worn parts, fixed in pace with large hand stitches. Just a really beautiful garment to keep and treasure.
The workshop left us all nicely motivated to keep going with our Sashiko. Indigo Niche were very generous with their time and provided for a great day for us all.
We also had our usual Show and Tell where members showed their completed projects. Jeanette O had made this colourful quilt “Oriental Refelctions”
and this cat-flavoured hanging was made by the group for Pearl who recently celebrated her 80th birthday!
Hope you have a good week!

some stitching and sketching

I’ve been doing a little more work on a hand-stitched piece. This is in response to classes I have taken online with Jude Hill of Spirit Cloth.
I love her work and have followed many classes over the years. This week I made this little woven patch:

wovenpatch1I’ll add it to a larger piece which is going to have a few assorted pieces and lots of stitching. You might remember this little piece I showed last week which is for the same project:
This week’s woven patch is added to resemble a city building. I created it first as a small piece by weaving strips into a a larger piece of printed fabric.
I then inserted the woven piece into the larger project and did some extra stitching on top:
As I work through it I’ll show some more on here, but as I am basically making it up as I go along there’s not a lot to show just yet!
I’ve also been doing some more drawing and sketching, so I drew this little page so illustrate the steps I took to create the woven patch:
Hope you are having a good week!

works in progress and completed

This completed stitched “city scene” is one I’ve been working on for awhile, for the cover of my fabric journal.
The journal was a project that my local art quilt groups worked on last year and is now at the stage of compiling and finishing off. I have shown pictures of this cover page here before in its various stages of completion, but now it is finally finished…
and I can now make it into the front cover by giving it a backing and some sort of stability to support it in its role as the cover.
It was made with lots of re-purposed scraps of fabric and bits and pieces, and
rough edges and lots of hand stitching
I can now put all the pages of the journal together and work out what type of binding I’ll use.

What else I’ve been working on: some more little blocks for the border section of the Lollipop Trees quilt top:
And as a sort of Postscript to last week’s blog post of the bleach dyeing that we experimented with, here is an interesting effect that has shown itself over time… I used some “Discolourant” on one piece of fabric that was hand-dyed in a dark plum colour. I brushed some of it on the fabric with an old toothbrush and left it to dry as per the instructions. This was the result later that afternoon after it had dried: the brushed marks are a golden colour-
and then the next day, this was what that same piece of fabric looked like:
The brushed marks have turned to a green (while the rest is still a plum colour, which perhaps doesn’t show that well in this photo)
Now that’s cool!
I’m linking up here to Works In Progress Wednesday- lots of good projects to look at over there!

it’s beginning to look like Christmas

I love seeing lots of handmade things at Christmas -time. I think it adds to the feeling of warmth and family, togetherness and keeping things basic and real. Most years I try to make a little something, or a couple of somethings, either for my own family or to give aways as gifts.
I made this little pear last year..
and this little hanging..
and this little bird…
This year’s bounty includes this little postcard I sent to my daughter, this blog’s namesake!, while she studied for her final exams…
I showed these little birds here last week, made for a friend…
This stitchery was made quite a few years ago but is pulled out with the tree and its decorations each Christmas..
and this ‘Christmas postcards’ hanging that my daughter and I made together many years ago..
A shame we can only have them out for such a short time each year!


This little quiltlet was made as part of an ongoing challenge with my local quilt group. It is another of the fabric journal pages that we have been working on all year.
The theme for September was ‘Age’. Loooking at my little piece, you may not immediately be able to identify how I used Age as my inspiration- yes? no?
It represents the different ages of mankind- from stone age on the left through the bronze age and up to the iron age on the right. Each of the little embellishments were sewn on to represent each of those Ages.
The backing is a piece of linen with torn edges and I started by adding some hand stitches. The embellishments were all sorts of bits and pieces I’ve gathered or found here and there..
in the middle I added some bronze foil highlights
Before I went too far, I got the idea to paint some gesso onto the background to add some visual texture
on the side couched some stones in amongst the stone-coloured buttons and other pieces, then added scraps of fabric and some random hand-stitches amongst the folds of coloured cheesecloth
The last step was to do some free-motion quilting over the top half with a cream-coloured thread.
So, that’s my interpretation of ‘age’!

wabi sabi simplicity

wabi sabi: beauty in imperfection. According to wikipedia, its characteristics include “asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes”.
This was the theme for this month’s art quilt challenge for our fabric journal pages. It proved a challenge in more ways than one, and seeing as it was my suggestion, you would think I should have whipped something up as quick as anything. But no, I agonised over it for ages, trying to come up with something that would encapsulate the features of imperfection and simplicity.
So in the end, I settled on a rendition of a clay pot on a plinth; a simple roughly made pot with a crack in it, sitting on display.
To try and keep it as simple and stark as possible, I had the pot sitting there by itself..
but there was too much spare space above it, so I added a layer of linen sewn with quick pintucks along its length.

Some of the other Gatton Quilters showed their interpretations of wabi sabi –
Meryl continued her under-water theme:
Shirley produced a bonsaii study:
Jan M showed her beautiful and simply elegant sand garden:
and Helen with her take on a ‘four-patch':
Just one more to show- Helen’s ‘Rust’ themed work from last month’s challenge, where she utilised some text-printed fabric:

rusty works

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘rust’? Perhaps old ships come to mind with rusting hulls and anchors, or maybe the old garden gate, or even the colours of autumn leaves. Our little art quilt group thought of all those things this past month when coming up with ideas for our fabric journal page with the challenge theme of rust.
I immediately knew I wanted to include on my piece rusted bits and pieces, so set about looking around the yard and my husband’s garden shed for just the right bits. I posted here a couple of weeks back about the background piece I was using, generously given by Meryl:
She made some fabric by wrapping up bits of iron and leaving it exposed to the weather. On top of that I sewed some teabags that I’been saving: the marks left by the drying tea leaves had a very rusty look to them.
I sewed them on top of the fabric by machine, in a grid pattern to resemble city buildings. I then set to adding the bits of rusted metal I had found. I used threads of different colour and weights, as well as different stitches.
I really love the effect, and it also plays into the cityscape theme I have casually running through a lot of my work.
I’ve named it ‘Rust in the City’!
Here are some of the pages made by others in the Gatton Quilters Art Quilt Group:
Meryl made a rusty anchor:
Shirley does beautiful work- look at this tiny bias binding in her rusty gate:
Margaret did ‘Rusty’
Trish K included some lovely handwork:
Lyn did some rusty autumn leaves:
and Jan K included some rusty objects with text:
I’m linking up here to ‘Off the Wall Friday’ with Nina-Marie- go take a look at some other great art quilt works!

a childhood memory

With ‘childhood memories’ as the theme, I set out to make the next fabric journal page in my local quilting group’s art group challenge. My sister reminded me of a beach shack we used to go to for our summer holidays when we were children. Our Dad used to rent it from a friend and we would head up to Moonta Bay, north of Adelaide, to stay in this little rough-and-ready shack for a couple of days. There wasn’t much at Moonta Bay in those days, and our weeks would be spent on the beach.
I wanted to make this in a style of using all hand-stitching, scrap fabrics and imprecise seams.
I started out with the background, adding border strips with a black backstitch so the stitches would peek through from the front.
The I had to go through my scraps and work out what bits and pieces I would need.

I cut out all the little shapes and stitched them on with backstitch, leaving the raw edges to roughen up.
The cheesecloth that I added for the sky was a piece that was the perfect colour, graduating from sandy to blue.

And then embellished with more handstitching.
Amanda can even remember the milk can which would be filled with our daily milk order.
I then turned under the edges of the border and attached it to a pievce of natural linen.

I did this piece in the style of the quilter Janet Bolton- check out her work.
I’m linking up here to Nina-Marie Sayre’s blog “Off the Wall Friday“- have a look at what some creative people can do!

famous saying without saying it….

For my latest art quilt group challenge, I made a fabric journal page under the theme of using a famous saying or line of verse as inspiration.
I decided I wanted to try and make a small piece that would reflect a saying that was recognisable without actually using any words on the page. So it had to be something very well known, and that could be easily be reproduced in an illustrative way. Of course, it took me a week or two mulling it over but eventually did come up with something. What message do you think these guys are trying to get across?
I used a technique of making some ‘paper fabric’ for the background- I blogged about the process here.
As part of that, I used newspaper scraps which reflected bad news that the monkeys are trying to avoid…
…and then surroundered them with ‘nice’ things, like, flowers and cupcakes, and hearts and lace.

The three wise monkeys are made out of black felt that I first placed in position on the paper fabric with a few drops of glue, and then machine-sewed on with free-motion stitches around the very edge. I sewed a strip of cupcake fabric across the bottom edge and some colourful buttons on top of that. The row of flowers were also machine-sewn with a fine black thread- you can see the holes created by the needles so it has a real ‘sketchy’ look.
I used bobbin-sewing to attach the paper fabric onto a backing of cotton wadding, using a thick, textured thread in the bobbin and sewing from the wrong side. To back all of that I used a piece of natural-coloured linen, fixed by large running stitch.
So, that’s my interpretation of the saying ” see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.

fabric art journals

A new group challenge for our little art quilt group is to create fabric journal pages. Each month we make a new page, utilising whatever methods and techniques we want to and in keeping with the monthly theme. The pages will be eventually bound together to form a fabric art journal. We can make it any size we want and we will be keeping our own journal at the end of it.
This month’s theme was door, doors or entryway. This is my interpretation of that theme:

My inspiration was the the beautiful scenes we see of countries like Morocco, Italy and Greece with the sun-bleached houses on the hillsides and the sparkling blue seas in the background. I used all vintage materials- i.e. old bits and pieces of fabric, to form the house shapes and hand-stitched the red doors in a variety of stitches. Hopefully when you look at it, the first thing you notice are the red doors!
Other interpretations of the theme came from:



Trish K

Plus here are a couple of pieces completed from last month’s theme where we had to utilise orange plastic mesh in some way:

Trish K


I think what we’ve all found from these challenges is that we are all creative in some way, despite our early misgivings on just what we would be able to come up with! Sometimes most of the month is taken up with forming the idea and the actual creation may not be so arduous. To give myself some guidelines for this challenge, I have decided on the following aims for my pages:
i) to make the pages in muted colours, as a contrast from my usual brightly coloured quilts,
ii) to use recycled items wherever possible,
iii) to create a look where there are lots of little pieces on the page; like embellishing with bits of fabric and threads, and
iv) to use lots of hand-stitching- not necessarily nice and perfect but big stitches, using thick or uneven threads, showing the knots on the front etc.
Once the idea has crystallised in my mind, I then think about how to create it keeping those principles in mind. I may not always keep to them exactly, but pretty close to it.
Anyway, that’s just how I do it!
Here’s another look at my page from last month, utilising the orange mesh as an inspiration even though it wasn’t physically on the page: