Friday, October 25, 2013

DOLLS

I have taken up 'adopting' dolls in the last couple of years.  I go to a local charity shop sometimes when I visit the doctor.  Run by a dedicated band of ladies, headed by the amazing Moira.  They work hard to raise money for blind people.  I started with a couple of dolls and then the addiction kicked in.  I actually feel for the dolls, laying on a shelf, no longer wanted by previous owners who have probably grown up or just moved on.  I told myself it was for my granddaughters to enjoy when they come.  Liar!  The truth lays way south of that statement.  I only remember one doll in particular that I owned, and unwrapping her on Christmas morning by the light coming for the kerosene fridge in my parents frugal home on a property in the New England highlands.  Oh she looked magical, and her eyes closed and she walked!  That glow from the fridge is still imprinted on my mind.  I loved her dearly and when I got older, around fourteen I gifted her to a friend's sister who were very poor.  Perhaps the beginning of a social conscience.  So now I am much older I find that I have become a collector of old dollies.  A knock at the door two days ago and their was my dear friend and partner in quilts, Margaret, the little girl who lives down the lane, because she literally does, just like in the poem.  She was holding a beautiful doll, whose previous owner had tried to comb her hair, which always destroys the curls.  She had found her in little second hand shop at Sandgate, yes it is by the sea.  I named her Meg in honour of Margaret and introduced her to the rest of the dolls.  She looks much happier with a new ribbon in her hair and  sort of has that "I have found a home at last" look now, or so I tell myself.  So today's pic is from a lace and memory book, and thank you again Nancy for the instructions that helped me create this.  The image in the photo is for all of us who have never quite grown up and still have a yen for dolls and sweet childhood.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

SIBLINGS

Today is my brother's birthday, so I decided to post this piece I made as the siblings remind me of our relationship.  I was the elder, he always lagging behind.  He is off fishing at the moment, somewhere down over the border, with his mates.  I imagine he is very happy.  We used to fish as children, in the river that ran out to the sea, just a few metres from the back of our house.  I only remember catching toad fish, or puffer fish, they would promptly puff up when you landed them on the shore, quite disgusting to me back then.  I think he probably liked them, being a boy and all.  So, Mark, happy birthday and may you land brim and not toads.

Monday, October 14, 2013

FABRIC COLLAGE

I have been experimenting with fabric collage lately. I built the piece around this old photo of a young girl, the doiley base seemed to echo the pattern on her clothes. Old photos have always fascinated me. My collection of laces and buttons, beads and other items are steadily growing and allows me to play bower bird. I had played around with small memory quilts however I recently discovered wonderful blogs doing fabric collage pieces and was lucky enough to come across Nancy Maxwell James on her blog Sugarlump Studios. Nancy has an Etsy shop and I was able to purchase several PDF instructions for doing lace books, fabric collage and other wonderful explorations. I made this piece after purchasing a PDF from her on fabric collage so lots of credit goes to Nancy for allowing me to find my way in this fascinating media. So if you are interested in this form of collage do visit her fascinating blog and her Etsy shop, she is lovely to deal with and has inspired me incredibly. Thankyou Nancy. You are terrific!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

THE QUILTER'S CAT

I am having trouble uploading photos this morning, so thinking it was my new camera I selected a photo from my old camera. Introducing my constant companion, he who selects all patterns, sleep tests all quilts and generally runs my life, my Manx cat Raku. Now he may not be a treadle but he knows all about them. His favourite thing that his mummy brings home are brown paper shopping bags from the quilt shop. He just looooves them. He delights it hiding in them, a feat that is becoming harder as he gets older and more rotund. Mostly he now sits on them because he simply has outgrown them. A Manx cat is like no other. I am actually referred to amongst the various grandchildren as the "Nanny with the crazy cat" because Raku delights in bailing them up when they visit and hissing at them. He gets away with it and they scream in fear but the silliest is to see my huge step son who will back away from him and he is in excess of of six foot and a gym junkie. My, my, Raku - his meow is much worse than his bite and he has them all completely fooled.

CHANGES

Yesterday saw me moving all the treadles to new positions in the house. I should really say saw my husband moving them, I just gave the instructions and he did the heavy lifting. My hero! The machines had become suppositories for all sorts of adornments they were never meant to carry, like dolls I rescued from the Blind Op Shop, glass baubles, paintings and the list of dust collectors goes on and on. I dropped the 319K into a treadle base and now I have myself a real fancy treadle that does real fancy stitches. She is heavier to treadle than my other gals so I would imagine that is because of her heavy gearing mechanism. So now I can treadle zig zag to my heart's content. I can do embroidery stitches and intergrate them into my crazy patchwork. Speaking of which, I had given my cousin a quilt for a kind act he did for me some time ago. Imagine my surprise when he told me he had entered it in a country show in NSW and it had won a "Highly Commended". I was delighted and he made my day. I have never entered any of my quilts in anything so he actually did me a favour and I love him for it. Thankyou Cousin Robert. So today's photo is of the 319K in her new base and may she make many crazy quilts! Well, three tries to upload the photo to no avail, so post now and photo later today when I work out why I am having troubles with adding the pic.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

JONES HAND CRANK

I have not posted in six months. So much has happened. My prodigal son flew home for New Year. It is strange to say goodbye to your child at the age of thirty and not see him again till he is now forty. He had had many adventures including being a crocodile hunter, a period in his life I am now glad I was not aware of as it would have frightened me every day to think of him leaping out of helicopters into crocodile nests among the swamps in the Northern Territory. He is scaffolding now so he has swapped one danger for another. Life was much less worrying for his mother when he was a chef. I suffered from De Quervain's Tendonitis in the New Year. A fancy name for a pain in the wrist brought on by too much quilting. I was fitted with an awful plastic cast, after a cortisone needle, and life became very frustrating as a one handed person. Sewing was definitely out and months later I still have physio twice a week and the healing will still take some time. I have learnt that posture when sewing is everything and to take breaks all the time. I can also mop the kitchen floor one handed however I doubt that skill will do much for my quilting ability. So this morning the time came to finally update my blog. I have new work I am doing, as I have had to look in new directions because of my hand. One door closes and another opens, they say, and truly for me this has been the case this time. I have polished up some of my machines and even considered selling them. I even went so far as to advertise this beautiful Jones Hand Crank, however the next morning could not bear to part with her, so pulled the add down. She is made around 1925. Her decals are still in great condition though her base is showing the wear of time. She takes those long needles that are so hard to find now, however I have found Organ Needles 3.HAX1 14 fit her beautifuly. I was sent them by mistake once by a supplier of embroidery cotton, who has since closed down. If you jig them around they do end up connecting with the bobbin thread. Blog updates will be regular now, being able to type again sure makes writing so much easier!