My absurdly talented partner Andrew painted this portrait in 1 day. There are so many things I love about this painting. If I had to choose what made this painting feel so much like me, I’d have to say its the couple of wayward hair strands across the forehead and down the side and the dulled green in my hair.
To celebrate, I’ve posted a photo of Saffron I took about a month ago but haven’t been able to upload.
I love this shot. It shows how I bought a couch to blend with my cat (and in theory hide the cat hair which, judging by that segment of black on the cushion, has not worked!) It also shows my troublesome little companion relaxing. This is a nice change from when she has cystitis. Also, I just had to post a cat pic to celebrate Licorice and Saffron’s 4th birthday with me. This makes Licorice a grand old age of 11 and Saffron 8.
PS: It seems while I’ve been offline that I have some new followers. Welcome to my blog!
Ah Sunday. Ability to get in car, drive to parents house to steal their internet and type a blog post with a keyboard rather than one finger on a mobile phone! The one benefit of no internet is that I’ve actually spent time I would normally spend on the internet sewing! Well, the sewing part hasn’t been extensive. Think more cutting out, testing, tossing and trying another technique. In the quilt I just finished the only applique was raw edged applique. In the case of the squirrel and the doves, I was lucky enough to get Kim from Applicuts to use her laser to cut them and this seals the edges and they don’t fray as much. In the case of the little gecko I had to fussy-cut him and then blanket stitch him within an inch of his life by hand so he didn’t fray. So I decided to give ‘needle-turn’ applique a go. Who knew there were so many ways of doing it?
A little internet research shows you that many people do needle-turn applique using freezer paper. Some use freezer paper in combination with starch to crisp up the edge. Any technique which involves cutting out shapes, ironing them, stitching around them, only to then have to leave a hole and fiddle with tweezers to pull out the bit of paper, seems a bit… well… annoying. Pull the paper out? Bugger that! I wanted a method I could leave the ‘template’ in.
I tried just using an iron to turn my edges. Fail.
I tried using a basting stitch on the machine. My little wisp of fabric got eaten by the feed dogs.
I traced my shape on the fabric and before cutting it trying the basting stitch… it wasn’t the smoothest and too time consuming!
I ended up using a method pretty close to the one described by Rachelle Denneny in a demo DVD I got at the newsagency. (I’d give you a link to her website, only I can’t find one!)
I deivated a little, but not much.
- I used the Floriani leave in fusible wash and wear interfacing that she used. This is going to sound strange but I found it both stiffer and softer than vliesofix – and the backing doesn’t seem to edge itself away from the glue piece with repeated handling.
- I ‘pleated’ my outer curves with a palette knife rather than a cuticle stick (there are more art supplies in my house than nail care implements).
- I did cut my ‘notches’ on the inner curves to ease it in first because I put the glue on the back of the interfacing, rather than the bit I was turning.
- I didn’t assemble my pieces as a ‘whole unit’ with glue like she does, I put them down one by one. This was probably due to impatience on my part as I hadn’t cut every bird feather at the beginning – I didn’t even know if it would work!
- Rachelle has a masterful skill in machine qpplique and free motion work (she has won awards for her quilts in Australia shows as well as in Houston). I’m guessing that she has had thousands of hours practice. I’d be struggling to notch up 2 hours, so I hand slip stiched my feathers down!
The best part about this for me was being able to use a palette knife and a glue stick to turn the edges rather than an iron. I’m a bit of a gumby and had already had a few moments of ‘quickly dancing’ fingers as I got too close to the iron.
Of course when I fronted up at dress-making class with my creation, my incredibly knowledgable teacher quickly produced an alternative to all my tracing on the curves.
Using bias and bending them into shape would have been easier.
‘Oh I did think of that’, says I defensively. ‘It wouldn’t work because my pieces are different widths at different points and I didn’t want to have a seam at the end for the spade shaped piece.’
Of course, this is Bev. She has decades of experience. She had an answer for this one too!
Well then you just make bias as wide as the widest part of the bulb and then cut it back.
Hmm. I’m not sure how good an idea it is to tell a woman who has spent considerable time drawing curved shapes that it would have been easier to just bend them in. Then again, this is Bev. She’s nearly always got a better way. (We just don’t tell her that too often).
I am still without internet. I am not happy. Telstra decided – in their infinite wisdom – that the problem was solved and so cancelled my appointment. When I told Optus to tell Telstra that it wasn’t fixed, they said that the appointment I had for the 29th of April was now going to take place on the 16th of May! Optus guessed right that I wasn’t going to be happy with a further two week delay, so hassled Telstra some more until they coughed up a date of 6th of May. Still another week I have to wait because of their mistake. Frustrating as hell.
I’m writing this from Andrew’s place. While at home with lack of internet, I can neither work nor do half the internet surfing I normally do. Instead, I’ve been sewing. A dress is taking shape. I’ve started on ideas for a lap quilt including this piece of fabric that I’ve embroidered.
Saffron has recovered from her cystitis just in time to ‘assist’ with the sewing.
Sometimes I just don’t get the economic decisions of government. In Tasmania, a leading Australian charity runs a program to keep youth out of detention. Instead of stealing cars, it gives youth at risk the opportunity to work on cars and gain skills. It costs $130 a day to do this compared to $900 to keep them detained. So what does the government do? Cut the program. (For those who are interested there is a facebook page to try to rally public support to get the government to reverse it’s decision: http://www.facebook.com/UTurnAustralia).
PS: I’ve taken my laptop to Andrew’s today as I was having internet withdrawal.
I have no Internet. I feel as if someone has deprived me of food! Typing a blog post on a iPhone is way too slow. Not quite as slow as the telephone company is about fixing my access. What makes typing this post even more painful is that Licorice is wailing. She’s been put in the bathroom for the night with sister Saffron, who has cystitis again. Saff is the sick one. Does she complain? No. But licorice thinks howling like a banshee is going to get her out of there.
If anyone has any tips re managing cat cystitis please let me know. I’ve tried feliway, rescue remedy, zylkene, switch to wet food and trying to maintain a routine. Of these the feliway and wet food seem to have some impact but she is still having recurrences when I have to give her anti-inflammatories.
Anyway, my one fingered typing is getting worse and worse. Attached – I hope – is a picture of a mad hatters hat made from fabric pieces.
I had someone ask me today whether this was a example of crazy patchwork. My dressmaking teacher replied: ‘no, it’s patchwork by a crazy woman.’
Handpainting fabric is as much fun as painting on canvas or watercolour paper and it has one added advantage – it takes up less storage space! This piece is about 15 X 25 inches. If I had that in paper, that would be an awkward size. In fabric I can just fold it up.
I’m posting this pic now as I expect I may be offline again for a few days. My internet keeps dropping out. At least tonight I got it resolved to a point where they have concluded it is not the phone line – the fact that the phone line has also been dodgy for the last month is apparently co-incidence! They say it’s the modem and they are sending me a new one at no cost. After this long of flaky phone lines and internet connection, so they should! Fingers crossed getting a new modem will stablise my internet access.
It’s probably a good thing it’s being flaky. I have just started to set up a pinterest page and I think I got a little too excited by some of the cool things I could pin!