Wednesday, 28 November 2007


Our internet connection has slowed to a crawl for the duration of the month, so I've been too annoyed to blog, not only is it slow, but seem to have a habit of timing out. I've had to resort to going to the library to do any serious mail collecting and searching!

Anyway, I've been working on a stand for my scarves and that's progressing well. Need some black paint to finish it off. More tubes have been collected from hubby's brother-in-law, I found some small coat hangers and I'm painting everything black! I'm approaching the stand as if it were a sculpture, with black tubes everywhere. I felt uncomfortable with not having all my scarves out, so I'm trying to create a rack. I'm hoping that will give me enough on the stall to always make a sale!

The first textile picture in the 'Pasta' series is now well on its way, I've only to add a strip of colour and it's well on its way. I want to add a red, green and ??? strips,which should be very striking.

I've started spinning some English Leicester to do the background for the next one and thought I'd find another fleece for the third. Nice to be spinning.

I've also bought the new issue of Vogue Knitting, which has some really interesting ideas in it. I'll expore that further when I have a better internet connection. This has just taken me half an hour to do!

Friday, 23 November 2007

Some more yarn!

Finished the camel yarn and plied it with some brown wool that I had also spun. Needs to be washed properly, but I'm quite happy with it. Unfortunately, I need to scour the yarn, hopefully it doesn't ruin the camel.

I also machine knit the merino I had. Wasn't enough to do a textile picture, but I will felt it to see what happens. It did prompt an idea for a scarf. Machine knit a scarf length, block it and then embellish it with handspun. Could be fun!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Machine Knitting Handspun

Bouncing around my workshop, a little undirected, I felt the urge to spin....problem, all bobbins have something on them. As I want a felt background for my next textile picture series, I decided to felt some leftover English Leicester single (still on bobbin- there is method to my madness) and try and machine knit with it then felt it. It was still quite greasy, so I don't think I scoured it before spinning, only washed it.

It did go through the machine with only one break. I think I need to clean the brushes and make sure I go quite slowly, or, of course, use cleaner wool!

I did felt it, not fully, and I'm quite pleased with the result. Next I'll try the leftover merino for a more serious effort.

I then did manage to spend the rest of the evening spinning camel. I'm spinning a fine slubby yarn and keep changing my mind about whether I'm going to ply with it or not. I do want to then do an upmarket version of my necklet.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007


I finished and delivered my sculpture. I was pretty happy with it, and as it happened, I didn't need a plinth!

The opening is on Saturday and I'll be there, at least for a little while. I've volunteered to sit the exhibition on the 5th December.
Now, I'm wondering what to do next!
'Bonanza' - CSA members exhibition
Yarra Sculpture Gallery,
Vere St. Collingwood
24th November - 9th December

Monday, 19 November 2007

Pasta making

We had such alot of fun yesterday, making AND eating pasta. I've taken photos and am thinking about how they might make a series of textile pictures. Some obvious answers to that problem, but I'll think about how long thin 'things' can be created and mounted!

We discussed our group entry for the Australian Sheep and Wool show and have an overall guiding concept: World unravelling with the show theme of 'Flora and Fauna'. Now we just have to collect pictures, ideas, anything. I didn't think we'd get this far, but it does work well. It will translate into something positive and interesting.

I also have managed to find my block of wood in the offcuts bin of Danahers', my local hardware store. It's been cut up, stained and one coat of varnish applied. Hopefully it will all be ready by Wednesday.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Knitters' Block

I've really started my latest sculpture. I'm now officially in desperation mode as it has to be finished by Tuesday, when it goes into the Contemporary Sculptor Association members exhibition - 'Bonanza'.
As you can see I've made the blocks and covered most of them with knitting. This part will be finished. I do now need to find a base to stand it on and I need a plinth, which I think I can borrow.
Today is 3D5S and we're making pasta. Am looking forward to this. I'll share photos!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Blocks and new looms

Another day out, helping a friend with their new loom. It was fun and all questions of 'how does this work?" were finally answered when the top was lifted and all was revealed!
I love traditional equipment, even by a relatively big company, like Leclerc. Each has a unique vision of how something should work, revealing something of the maker/user, though the idea is not always clear.
I did manage to finish, what must now be, a first coat on the blocks and I've started the production of their jackets! I'm very happy, but suddenly, very aware of the time deadline of next week!
Anyway, off to have my porridge!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Sculpture start

I haven't any pictures for today, I didn't think small blocks of stain wood (Rosewood stain on pine) was really interesting. But I've started 'Knitter's block'! Hooray, about time. Varnishing will start today.

I've also knitted my first 'necklet', I'll finish it off first before photographing it.

Slow day yesterday, might just be a slow week, after the effort of the last four weeks.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Beautiful Photos!

I did manage to ring Craft Victoria, only to discover that the relevant person is on leave till Thursday. They didn't sound too optimistic about prospects before Christmas, so I sent off an optimistic email saying to the best of my ability: 'but you'll love my stuff!' I did manage to take the photo, which is the best photo to date. I really love it!
I've also started my little one ball 'necklets', which have sold well on my stall and I haven't made any for quite some time.
Now, is the time, however, to get on with my 'Knitters' Block' sculpture for the Contemporary Sculpture Association's members exhibition, due in on the 20th November.
Have you noticed two names, I must be on a roll. All I need now is a really good name for the 'Woven Memory' offshoots....the beautiful photograph.....!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Disappointment and other stories

Disappointment ended my weekend with absolutely no sales from the 9"x5" market. I was really happy with the way the stall looked and the new items I had on, but, I guess a combination of a small crowd and ???? just meant no-one bought anything. I am at a bit of a loss to both explain and know what to do next. I have a few ideas about changing the display particular, finding a way to display all the scarves without taking up table space???, but I just have to hope that after the election and just before Christmas people will spend in December.

The weekend actually started quite well with Saturday being the day that the Spinning Certificate students handed in all their work for assessment. Four of us spent a good, but not onerous part of the day doing this. It was just great and the work is fantastic and the exhibition of work in December will be stunning...and I haven't yet seen all the final pieces. It makes all the hard work worth while, and it is a real disappointment that it won't run next year.
I will show some of the new work that I managed to finish. I'm very happy with my new set of textile pictures. I did receive some very good responses to these and I think I'll just keep going with them, even though I haven't sold any yet.
My next mission is to try Craft Victoria! Wish me luck!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Judging at the Show

I spent yesterday morning judging the woolcraft for the Dandenong Show. I went out there last year and it was delightful and was so again. They managed to double the entries from the last show and the quality also improved with some really good entries, and a few really difficult sections.

The CWA put on morning tea and lunch. Homemade scones, fresh local asparagus, etc. etc. I also had a look around the main craft display, I always love the cake competitions.

It is really surprising that the show exists, being, as I see it, in suburbia. I am wrong, of course, it really borders the city, as do the Whittlesea and now Berwick shows. This years has been diminished a little, as there will be no horses because of the equine flu, but these are well worth go to see.

Judging is always a nerve-wrecking effort, as you really don't want to make a mistake or upset anyone. One of the ideas I've thought about is that I really want to give prizes. I think this encourages the people who have entered, and hopefully, encourages others to enter. So there always is a winner. I'd love to do Dandenong again.

Textile pictures

I am also trying to finish off as many articles for my stall on Sunday. As you can see the textile pictures are coming along. I'm quite happy with them, but they are quite different from the first trio.

I also managed to get my buttons from Buttonmania in the city. It's always a pleasure going in to her shop and browsing through buttons with their expert help. I paid too much for one button, but it is beautiful.

She's having a sale from 26/11/07 till 1/12/07. She sells her buttons on sale BY WEIGHT. Apparently the black go really quickly. If I can I'm going!

NOTES: Dandenong Show. 10th & 11th November, 2007. Showgrounds. Bennet St. Dandenong
Buttonmania. 2/37 Swanston St. Melbourne Vic.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Melbourne Cup weekend at the beach

Images from Phillip Island

A lovely weekend was had by all. We travelled down in the rain, blessed rain! and then the rest of the weekend was fine. Phillip Island is like that, the only certainty is the wind.

We did finish the weekend by going to 'Chill Island', a concert on Churchill Island which headlined Clare Boeditch, Paul Kelly and Gotye. There were four support bands, we only missed one. There was Tin Pan Orange, who I liked, Tumburumba, who are a very energetic and fun drum band playing music such as the Samba, and a band called Hot Little Hands who hadn't got a CD yet and 16yr old boy thought that they were really good, which is actually a pretty good endorsement.

The concert didn't finish till after 9pm and it was FREEZING! Remember the wind I mentioned earlier. A very late drive back, but a lovely weekend.

Remember those moments when you go, 'is that where it is!". I had one of those, I thought I'd lost a bobbin, hardly surprising with the state of my workshop, but there it was, at the beach with some fabulous tops on it that I'd won at the Experimental Birthday party.
I've been wrapping it around a fine cotton core, after very, well nearly very carefully, splitting up the colours. I think it's a great success, though I did have problems deciding what to do when plying. I'm not, I think I'll just set it.
I also managed to finish all the wire work and clean up for the Woven Memories series. So a good weekend for textiles.
AND, we did have a flutter and a win on the Cup!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Experimental Spinning

Picker fluff!

Yesterday was my Experimental Spinning day which I was looking forward to. Being a very busy weekend for the guild, it was a very quiet meeting. We still had fun using the picker and I taught how to spin on a stick, which proved very popular. I have really come to appreciate the joys of spinning on a stick as it can produce a very softly spun, light and fluffy yarn. It is also very gentle and meditative.

I wanted to pick a dyed fleece that I've had for some time and am very happy with the result. The picker is turning out to be a very useful piece of equipment. Traditionally, a picker opens up fleece in preparation for carding. In particular, fleece that might not be in the best condition. However, we've discovered that it does open up fleece nicely, but also mixes up coloured fleece in a random, but still keeping staples discreet. I'm going to spin mine up as it comes and call it 'Picker yarn'. I don't know what I'm going to ply it with, but seeing as I have 200gms, by the time I get round to finishing it, I should have some idea.

Liquorice Allsorts scarf

AND, last night I finally managed to come up with an idea for my liquorice yarn. A combination of dropped stitches and yrn has created an open scarf, which should mean I have enough yarn, but it still relates back to liquorice allsorts, sort of!

We're off to the beach for the rest of the long weekend, finishing and spinning are the orders of the day.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

HWSG Exhibition

After a magnificent lunch with friends at '312' in Drummond St. Carlton, and some running around organising my baby boy, I headed off to the HWSG exhibition entitled 'Home Furnishings - to dye for', which is being shown at Steps Gallery in Lygon st. (just down from Trades Hall). I had been looking forward to this as I knew that the work would be good. I came away, however, slightly disappointed and have been wondering exactly why.

There was some terrific work: I particularly liked a picture, I think it was 'Smoke', and a beautiful roll of Curtain Material, which should have had a title, a great teapot cover, and of course, works that I already knew about: particularly, 'Woman in a Mini Skirt' jewellery tree, and the series of 'Bottle carriers'/Hot water bottles both by friends. And thinking about these, I have come to a conclusion about why the overall disappointment.

Usually, the hanging of a guild exhibition is very good and enhances the works, and also gives a cohesiveness to the overall exhibition. I don't think this happened this time. Small works should have had more space in which to shine. These can be treated as works of art and given their own stands. The wall hangings were hung like paintings, each separately, but without any apparent connection to those around it, and why do we insist on putting cushions down low or on the floor! these are also worthy of either hanging or plinths.

Having seen two exhibitions in two days, each, almost at different ends of a spectrum, both suffered from being too practical in nature, losing too much of the art. For me, it suggests that I've moved on from both and I should start seriously thinking about an exhibition of my own.

Anyway, the work in both is well worth seeing, and I might try and catch them again before they finish.

Friday, 2 November 2007

A new graduate show!

Last night was the opening of this years RMIT Diploma of Art graduate exhibition. I have been making a point of going each year. Usually I've known alot of the students, however, there were only a couple that I knew. It is always good to catch up with staff, some of whom are fellow graduates.

It is an interesting exhibition this year with an emphasis on the practical, rather than the pure art works. This probably reflects the changing staff. There was also not a huge amount of weaving, though, the future looks good with apparently some very good weavers still studying.
I did know the winner of the Studio Textiles prize, Lynne Johnstone, who has also been a long part-time student. Her work on display all used rust and she created some beautiful fabrics. I think I saw the germination of this process having dropped into a class where they were experimenting with rust. It's a fascinating process, full of the unexpected.
My other favourite, for its' subversiveness was a young man who screen printed the usual guns, skulls, etc. and then got his mother to make them up into a quilt. An ordinary, simple block quilt!
Alot of beautiful machine knitting and lots of cushions! It's always good to go this show, as I can feel inspired. Some disconcerting news is that next year it will be a Diploma of Textiles, Fashion and Clothing, rather than a Diploma of Art. This may definitely put a more Industry based take on the work and sadly lose the purely artistic.

I did manage to finish knitting my silk scarves, and weave the last woven memory hanging. Lots of work to be done on my textile pictures. The knitting machine should run hot!