Tuesday, November 6, 2012

ELECTRIC MACHINE BLUES

I spent today using an embroidery machine. I felt at the end like it had been a day of 'work' not creativity. I ended up tired and cranky and quite over the machine. Tomorrow will be spent on a treadle for sure so I can catch up with myself from where I got out of bed this morning. More tomorrow!

Friday, November 2, 2012

GEMMA

A beautiful machine to use and named in honour of our smallest grandie, Gemma. I purchased her some time ago, a Singer 201K, 1952. The cabinet she sat in was awkward to sew with and ended up injuring the bursa in my left leg where it was jammed up against the cabinet edge while I was sewing. Now you know why I have not added anything to the blog for the last few weeks. My dear sewing friend, Margaret, who lives down the lane, purchased one last weekend and it had the open cabinet, similar to the ones produced in the twenties, the type with the six small side drawers, only hers had one each side, if all that makes sense. I had been de sewing machining, meaning, making room by discarding some of my collection. I asked Margaret if she would like one and within a day her husband had purchased her a 201K as well. She is now a very proud treadler. This prompted me to remove my 201K head and put it into a 1920's cabinet for more leg room. As for the little grandie mine is named after, well she is a sweetie, but she does have a bit of grunt, just like the sewing machine. Lots of things have been happening since I last wrote and the biggest of all was my youngest son took a wife. Since he turns forty next month, I think it was high time too! The lovebirds are off on their honeymoon in foreign lands and we await a visit in the festive season to meet our new d in law. So Gene and Donna, congratulations! Maybe I might name another sewing machine after Donna, you never know. Oh, and Margaret's machine, well it is made the same year as mine and in the same place, Clydebank, Scotland. We have decided they are sisters. How extraordinary that they travelled across the sea and ended up fifty odd years later owned by two friends who lived a laneway away from each other. I love stories and I love the story of these two old ladies, the machines I mean.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

POSTCARDS TO LILY GORDON

Last year I bought several postcards from an antique store where I holiday regularly. I was surprised when I later turned them over to read them and found several were to a Lily Gordon, Awaroa Bay, Waiheke, New Zealand. A later visit to the same store the next holiday yielded more postcards to Lily. I now have them ranging from early 1900's to around 1913. They tell the story of everyday lives in New Zealand, visits to friends and theatres. I tried to trace Lily's family but could not. If anyone reading this knows of Lily Gordon please contact me as though I love every postcard I would happily send them to her family. I have a thing about family history. I made the small art quilt in the photo (created on my 1910 Singer treadle sewing machine)and copied both the front and back of the postcard onto photo fabric plus a stamp. I put a quote from William Shakespeare as well, "We are advertised by our loving friends". Lily had many friends and I have the postcards to prove it. This particular one was from her friend, Maggie, sent to Lily in 1913. I intend to make small quilts of all the postcards to Lily Gordon and what a joy it is to do. Lily is gone now, but the words of her friends attest to their regard for her. Yes, Lily had many loving friends.

Friday, September 7, 2012

AUSSIE HERO QUILTS

I have been many things during my life. The roles of mother and wife and artist mainly. In my earlier life I married a soldier and I became an Army wife. It meant postings to various states and lots of time raising my children when their Dad was away on exercises or various courses. My husband died seventeen years ago, and the Army has long slipped away from my life these days. That was till this last week. We lost five soldiers in Afghanistan in the last two weeks. Huge loss, the worst since Long Tan in the Vietnam war. The Vietnam war was of my time back then. I was listening to the radio and heard about "Light The Way Home", a man was asking if people would turn on their front porch light, to light the way back for the lost soldiers being returned Australia. It really touched me and we lit the porch light till the boys were home. I started looking for where quilts might be donated for soldiers and a search on Google revealed the wonderful work of 'AUSSIE HERO QUILTS'. Jan Maree and her helpers, hundreds of quilters, are making quilts for servicemen and women in Afghanistan. They make laundry bags too. They have a Facebook page as well. Do look them up if you are a quilter and want to help bring a smile to one of our men and women serving our Nation. The blocks in the photo are for this month's BOM and I will posting them to Jan Maree on Monday. The funny part of it all was that though I felt so removed from my Army days it brought me back to my old Army family, and though my husband is gone and I am older, I am still part of that family. I don't have to raise children while my husband fights a war in some foreign land, and my heart does go out to them all. I can help however in a small way and urge you if you are a sewer or quilter, please help them too. All the instructions are on the AUSSIE HERO QUILT blog site and your helping could make all the difference to a lonely soldier, sailor or airman far from home.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

CARNA

I have not posted lately, a winter flu that hung on for weeks followed by another bout of health probs, has seen me glued to the couch instead of the sewing machine. Finally, I am on the mend again. Spring has arrived and winter departed till next year. I am thankful to see the sunny days again and feel the sun's warmth, as the cold seemed to go on forever these past few months. No, we don't get snow, or even very cold temperatures compared to other places, but I missed the joy of blue skies and longer days. "Carna" came into my home three years ago. She is in mint condition, from the late fifties, early sixties. She has wonderful little silver gears on the top, and you combine them to make different fancy stitches and change her embroidery discs to make more. Her only drawback is that to change the bobbin you have to take your life into your hands and heave her upwards, hold her there, while you manouvre the bobbin out from underneath her. She weighs a ton. She also takes special short needles, though I do have an extra bobbin case with a hole cut in it to take the modern longer needles, for they hit the bobbin case without the hole. She is named after my aunt I never knew. My father was one of twelve children, and Carna had died in her early twenties. Her brother had died ten days before, and she went to his funeral and caught the flu. No penicillan back then. How my grandparent's hearts must have grieved, how terrible to lose both just days apart. Her photo always sat in my grandparents county home, "Wayford". I lived there as a child for four years from when I was born. Carna always looked so cool and detached, a remote figure, always a mystery and one always felt one should lowere one's voice when you were near the photo, or I did, anyway. I am not sure how my myriad of other cousins felt. So when this beautiful machine came into my posession there were no if's or buts, I named her after that lovely remote figure in the oval photo frame. Of the twelve brothers and sisters, only two are left, my father and his sister Mickey. My Aunt Carna, however will always be young and beautiful, caught in time, never to grow old like the other siblings.

Monday, July 23, 2012

THE BIRTHDAY GIRL PHOTO!

THE BIRTHDAY GIRL!

Today was a special day at sewing. Special because we helped Nan celebrate her birthday. Nan is 83 this week. What an incredible lady she is. Both the ladies in this photo are incredible, Nan for her wonderful sewing talent and Margaret at her side, who puts colour together like nobody else I know. Nan has sewed all her life, she worked in couture houses in Sydney as a young woman, was an expert Tambour beader, her nimble fingers adorning beautiful gowns with sparkle and life. She lived in New Guinea, survived earthquakes and tropical heat, taught the native girls how to sew there so they could earn an income. Along the way she raised two daughters and lived the second part of her life with a husband she adored. In later years she took up quilting and made the most beautiful coats full of colour and texture, beading and quilting. Both Nan and Margaret are my special friends but today is Nan's day, Happy Birthday Nan!

WHO WAS SHE?

I created this memory quilt around the largest image, a woman in a field of flowers. I seem to remember I acessed her image through ArtEZine. The original photo was in black and white and I used pigma colour pencils to bring the reds and yellows into the print out on fabric. I formed the quilt with images of figures holding flowers or roses. Flower pounding, rusted fabric, machine embroidery, antique lace from USA, rose fabric of course. I often pause in front of the quilt hanging in my entrance, and I look at the young woman in the field of flowers, I wonder just who she was, was life kind to her, did all her dreams come true that she held in her heart on a summer's day when she posed for a friend or perhaps lover, who captured her image in a moment in time. I do so hope that they did.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

MINI QUILT - NEW ENGLAND TREADLE

I love this treadle machine. Her cabinet is not the original as someone has widened the hole in it that holds the machine. The top timbere is badly worn. However she has a very light fly wheel for her treadling and she is wonderful to treadle, so easy, no effort required. She came with a beautful wood coffin top cover she had added along the way on her journey to finally reside here with us. I pieced the mini quilt shown here, on her, however it was quilted on another electric machine, my big Janome Horizon - shock - horror! As near as we could we traced her as probably made by New Home in USA. All her bits add up to a mongrel breed however she is one sweet sewer and though Josie is the Queen this little gal is a firm favourite with me. If you look closely you will see her bobbin and bobbin casse laying on the quilt. One big advantage is that the whole piece weighs very little so I can push her to wherever I feel like sewing for the day without any effort compared to my other treadles.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

CQ BLOCK SECTION

The photo was missing for the post below. I shall try again!

ANOTHER CQ SECTION

The weather here today is cold, overcast and bleak, the kind of winter's day when I just long for summer. I miss the opressive heat of a summertime Brisbane today. I long for the days when the heat ramps up and I wake to see small wisps of black cloud appearing. Not many, however my life up in the mountains taught me that the small black wisps held the promise of thunderheads by early afternoon, building high in the sky and all that power exploding late in the day with noise and drama and pouring rain. After the storms had moved away high on the plateau, their thunder rolls becoming muted as they headed down over the Gold Coast and out to sea, the mountain air would turn icy cold and you would thrill with the sharpness of the atmosphere as you wrapped it round you. Today in Brisbane is not such a day. It is miserable and you want it just to be over and maybe the sun will shine tomorrow. Consequently my creative juices have stalled for now and the block in the photo still waits for further embellishment when I am in a sunnier state of mind.

Monday, July 16, 2012

UFO CRAZY QUILT

I had started this quilt some time back. When I started this blog in fact, because a part of it appeared further down the page in my first writings here. It had then hit the UFO stash, which seems to grow biggger by the year. At the rate I am travelling the cats are going to have to leave home to make room for the quilts instead of just sleeping on them as they do. Today I 'found' the quilt,and started embellishing it again. Twenty years on a potter's wheel in my previous creative life have left me with hands that refuse to sew the kind of embroidery that I see other crazy quilters achieving. All those colonial knots send my hands stiff when I wake up the next morning. So being a lover of machines I realised I would have to use them as cleverly as I could to make my quilts heavy with stitch and glow like the inside of an Aladdin's Cave. So I fancy stitch with them, create machine embroidery with them and enrich my fabric as best I can. Block one appearing here is finished and here and there are the odd hand stitches. I have grown to love my machine stitches and realise we are going to be companions for a long time.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

THE DA VINCI QUILT

The DA VINCI QUILT - ------------------- A beautiful design from Advanced Embroidery acted as the catalyst for me to design and make this wall quilt. I rusted fabric in my old book press soaking calico in vinegar first. I wanted a old tapestry look for the piece and used roses and some brocades. Other machine embroidery designs were from Glen Harris and BFC Embroidery. Photo transer on to fabric for the hands image. Some stippling was done and all seams sewed over with fancy stitches. I later taught this quilt to the Tuesday girls, the emphasis being on how one can create a simple quilt from squares and rectangles to act as a vehicle for machine embroidery and photos on fabric.
Well, two years later and I have discovered that my blog is actually up and working. I am still quilting, the treadles are still residing in my house and my stash has grown even bigger. I will post regularly now that I know I can be seen by the world. To Maureen, my fellow quilter and friend who has been the first to comment here, thankyou! I actually got her sewing on my Jones hand crank a couple of weeks ago however no photos were taken of her stirling effort, unfortunately. She handled it like a pro. I now teach quilting and had set the girls the task of sewing on some of the old machines. Nan, who sewed for fashion houses in her day, loved every minute of it. I will post photos of their next sewing day when they next come. We call oursleves "The Coffee,Cake and Jazz" quilt group and Tuesdays see the girls sewing along to the strains of Glenn Miller and his Big Band and other wonderful old tunes.